Despite the back and forth between President Obama and the growing numbers of Americans who want Syrian migrants resettled in regions close to their homes, it’s business as usual for refugee advocates. Apparently, any empty building could and should be converted into a refugee shelter.
|Syrians: Headed to Atlantic City?|
The vacant Atlantic City Revel Casino is a prime target. Not only is the casino shut, but the building is 47-stories high and could house thousands of migrants. Although several options for the casino’s ultimate use have been discussed – an indoor/outdoor waterpark, a medical tourism resort, an equestrian facility, or a so called genius-academy – a refugee haven may be the final choice, especially if owner Glenn Straub gets his way.
Of course, Straub stands to profit. Straub would get out from under the $82 million, debt-ridden albatross. Should the casino be converted, Straub wants be compensated, and could probably score a big contract to manage the building. He’s already been in touch with the State Department which in turn promised to hook him up with refugee resettlement agencies. Straub has also reached out to unnamed presidential candidates to share his ill-advised solution.
A quick look at Census Bureau data shows just how bad an idea it is to bring hundreds of Syrians to Atlantic City. The refugees who will make extensive use of welfare will enter a community where the median household income is $29,200, 35 percent of the population lives in poverty, 29 percent are foreign-born, and 43 percent speak a language other than English at home. On top of that, Atlantic City is one of the most crime-infested municipalities in New Jersey, and the nation. Using a safety scale where 100 represents the highest mark, Atlantic City scores two.
Adding poor, non-English speakers into an unsafe community that is already struggling is a colossally bad idea. A more effective, more economical solution to resettlement is readily achievable. As previously noted on the CAPS blog, according to research from the Center for Immigration Studies, on average each Middle Eastern refugee resettled in the U.S. costs taxpayers an estimated $64,370 for the first five years, or $257,481 per household, totals which include processing fees and welfare benefits. Alternatively, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees requested $1,057 annually to care for each Syrian refugee in countries that neighbor Syria. In other words, for the cost to resettle one refugee in the U.S. for five years, 12 refugees could be helped in the Middle East for five years.
The math is simple, and the potentially American life-saving consequences clear: refugees should be resettled close to home. With recent events, no one can reasonably disagree with the simple premise that U.S. citizens are safer if the administration bans Syrians from America.