Records from former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s divorce case show how he has been able to collect hefty benefit checks from the federal government after serving time in prison for looting hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign fund.
Jackson, 51, receives about $138,400 a year — more than he made as a freshman congressman in 1995. Most of that — about $100,000 — is workers’ compensation and tax-free, according to Chicago attorney Barry Schatz, who is representing Jackson in his divorce proceeding.
The rest of Jackson’s benefits are Social Security Disability Insurance payments, some of which may be taxable, Schatz said.
The payments flow to Jackson because he has bipolar disorder and depression — the issues that led to an extended leave from Congress in 2012 — and those conditions have been exacerbated by a “very difficult, contentious divorce” from former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, Schatz said.
“Whatever benefits Jesse Jackson Jr. has, he earned them, and as a matter of law, he’s entitled to them,” the attorney said. “If the government thought he wasn’t entitled to them, they wouldn’t be paying them.”
Jackson’s workers’ compensation benefits are for a temporary, total disability, the attorney said. His health is checked once a year or more, and should it improve, the benefits might change, the attorney said.
“He’s not a slacker,” said Schatz, who disclosed that the ex-congressman is on medication and “not currently able to work.”
The president of a taxpayer watchdog group said the payments show “the system is still finding a way to take care of ex-lawmakers convicted of crimes and often in better fashion … than many Americans with lesser financial means could expect.
“Once again, the average taxpaying citizen is left to wonder if justice was done for them,” said Pete Sepp, who heads the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union in Washington.
Jackson, a Chicago Democrat, spent 17 years in Congress before resigning while under FBI investigation. He pleaded guilty in 2013 to using about $750,000 in campaign cash over several years for vacations, luxury goods, celebrity memorabilia and other items. At the time he resigned in late November 2012, he was being paid $174,000 a year.
Before quitting, Jackson had taken a leave for treatment for bipolar disorder and depression. Jackson’s workers’ compensation benefit statement gives June 1, 2012, as his “date of injury.” Yet he cast 72 separate roll-call votes in the House of Representatives from June 1 to 8, 2012, not missing a single vote, House records show. Later that month, his office said he was on a leave of absence and being treated for what at first was called “exhaustion.”
Jackson won re-election in November 2012 with 63 percent of the vote. He did not campaign or run a TV ad, but addressed voters in a pre-election robocall. “Like many human beings, a series of events came together in my life at the same time, and they’ve been difficult to sort through,” he said in the call. “I am human. I’m doing my best. And I’m trying to sort through them all.”
Records indicate Jackson is collecting workers’ compensation at the top rate given a person with a temporary total disability.
The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act gives workers’ compensation benefits for disability “due to personal injury or disease sustained while in the performance of duty,” the Labor Department said.
Schatz couldn’t explain how the former congressman’s job had caused his bipolar disorder and depression. “I can’t give you an explanation as to how and why,” he said. “I can tell you that medical experts have diagnosed him, and as a result of the diagnosis, he is entitled to disability payments.
“If someone had a choice whether they wanted to be bipolar or not, I don’t know of anybody that would want to choose to be bipolar, no matter what they were paid,” he said.
Ari Wilkenfeld, a Washington employment lawyer who has handled dozens of disability cases, said it would be highly unusual to collect federal workers’ compensation for bipolar disorder. He said he knew of no other such cases and that his firm, Wilkenfeld, Herendeen & Atkinson, often represents federal employees.
“What’s remarkable here is by his getting workers’ comp, it appears that Congressman Jackson’s attorneys have convinced the government that his bipolar disorder was created by the rigors of being a member of Congress,” Wilkenfeld said.
Details about Jackson’s six-figure payments were disclosed in a court order after Sandi Jackson started a divorce proceeding last year in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.
In her criminal case, Sandi Jackson, 53, was convicted for failing to report on their income tax returns most of what her husband took from campaign funds.
Jesse Jackson, sentenced to 30 months in prison, spent about 22 months in correctional facilities, a halfway house and home detention. He remains on supervised release, or what used to be called parole, a federal official said Wednesday.
After his release, his wife began a one-year sentence in a federal prison camp and fulfilled the obligation last October. She left the camp in September and wrapped up the last month of her term on home detention.
Jesse Jackson has filed for a divorce in Cook County, separately from his wife’s request in Washington.
District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Okun’s order required Jesse Jackson to pay temporary child support for the couple’s two children, 16 and 13, and revealed the ex-lawmaker’s annual benefits payments of $138,400.
One court exhibit is Jackson’s workers’ compensation benefit statement from the Labor Department. The statement covers a 28-day period ending last Dec. 10. It shows Jackson’s gross compensation was $7,699 for the period.
The government also paid $977 for his health insurance in the same period, a benefit separate from his workers’ compensation and disability insurance payments. The health insurance code on the statement is 105, which the Labor Department said is a Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Self & Family Plan.
The maximum rate for a federal employee’s workers’ compensation is 75 percent of the top salary in the U.S. government’s “general schedule,” or GS, which sets out pay levels for most civil service workers. In 2016, the top GS-15 salary was $133,444 a year.
Such benefits are subject to annual cost-of-living increases, the Labor Department said.
If a federal employee is receiving both workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability payments, the benefits together each month may not exceed 80 percent of the employee’s average monthly wage at the time of disability, according to a 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service.
Georgetown Law professor David Super noted that workers’ compensation and Social Security Disability are insurance programs, so Jackson’s benefits simply reflect his years as a well-paid congressman. Jackson entered the House in 1995, when lawmakers earned $133,600 a year, and he had several pay raises while in office.
“There’s an argument for designing the programs differently, more as subsistence programs,” Super said, “but that’s not what we’ve done.”
Jesse Jackson said in a court filing that his monthly expenses are $1,608. Sandi Jackson told the court she has no income, is late paying bills and is saddled with about $35,000 in credit card debt.
In a court filing Feb. 1, Sandi Jackson, who lives in Washington, said her monthly expenses had climbed to $11,030. She owed about $13,700 on a Visa card, $11,000 on a Discover card and $10,500 on a MasterCard, according to credit card statements given the court.
Last December, she owed more than $6,600 in mortgage payments, exhibits show. In January, Verizon sent her a letter saying, “Urgent: Disconnect Warning!” after her bill reached nearly $900 and Xfinity told her that her unpaid balance of nearly $1,100 put her at risk of having her cable TV and internet cut off.
The court filings led Judge Okun to order Jesse Jackson to pay $1,529 a month in temporary child support beginning in March.
At the outset of the case, Sandi Jackson tried to have the court record sealed, saying the parties may be “exposed to unnecessary harassment.”
Okun refused, saying the two Jacksons were “prominent public figures” and materials in the case “will be of interest to a wide audience, a factor that favors disclosure.”
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, made a secret trip to Kurdish territory in Syria last weekend, where he visited American military personnel. He also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey on his way home.
“Senator McCain traveled to northern Syria last week to visit U.S. forces deployed there and to discuss the counter-ISIL campaign and ongoing operations to retake Raqqa. Senator McCain’s visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq. President Trump has rightly ordered a review of the U.S. strategy and plans to defeat ISIL,” said a McCain spokeswoman quoted by The Hill.
McCain’s visit reportedly took him to the Kurdish town of Kobane, which was the focus of an intense battle between the Kurds and the Islamic State in 2014. He made a previous visit to Syria in 2013, where he met with rebel forces backed by the United States.
McCain’s trip to Syria is controversial for several reasons. As The Hill points out, just a month ago Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced she made a secret trip to Syria and had a secret meeting with dictator Bashar Assad, a revelation greeted with “shock and disgust” by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The Trump administration is not likely to be pleased with so much freelance congressional diplomacy.
Senator McCain does not appear to have done anything as outrageous as Gabbard, and the statement from his office sought to portray him as helpful to the Trump administration. The White House has said little to date about McCain’s Syrian excursion. CNN cites McCain’s office saying it was an official congressional delegation trip, “meaning the US government sponsored and paid for the senator’s travel.”
As Fox News notes, McCain has been a vociferous Republican critic of the Trump administration, including a “withering critique of Trump’s worldview” delivered at the Munich Security Conference last week.
The Obama administration left its successors in a delicate position with Turkey and the Kurds in Syria, having planned to arm the Kurds and use them as a primary proxy force in the coming battle to recapture the Islamic State’s capital of Raqqa. Turkey is strongly opposed to such a role for the Kurds.
Also, the Washington Examiner quotes McCain’s close friend, Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), arguing that Sunni extremists in Raqqa would “kick the Kurds out” if they participated heavily in liberating the city, so the Trump administration should consider at least partially replacing Kurdish forces with Turks in the Raqqa battle plan.
“The United States must work with Turkey to deal a rapid and lasting defeat to ISIL as part of a broader strategy to strengthen US allies and partners, counter the malign influence of our adversaries, and build a favourable balance of power in the region,” McCain said in a statement after meeting with Erdogan in Ankara.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis just completed his own trip to the Middle East, and will soon present President Trump with the comprehensive strategy review praised by Senator McCain’s office.
“We have been working diligently with our interagency partners to develop it with the intelligence community, our military commanders on the ground, the Joint Staff and our policy team here, and it represents the input of a number of other departments,” said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis on Tuesday.
Andrew P. Napolitano
Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.
Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety — each one lying on top of a predecessor — eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.
Here is the back story.
In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.
The use of general warrants was so offensive to our Colonial ancestors that it whipped up more serious opposition to British rule and support for the revolutionaries than the “no taxation without representation” argument did. And when it came time for Americans to write the Constitution, they prohibited general warrants in the Fourth Amendment, the whole purpose of which was to guarantee the right to be left alone by forcing the government to focus on bad guys and prohibit it from engaging in fishing expeditions. But the fishing expeditions would come.
In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was intended to rein in the government spying on Americans that had been unleashed by the Nixon administration. FISA established a secret court and permitted it to issue warrants authorizing spying on agents of foreign governments when physically present in the United States.
People born in foreign countries who are here for benevolent or benign or even evil purposes have the same constitutional protections as those of us born here. That’s because the critical parts of the Constitution that insulate human freedom from the government’s reach protect “persons,” not just citizens. But FISA ignored that.
And FISA was easy for the government to justify. It was a pullback from Richard Nixon’s lawlessness. It required the feds to seek a warrant from federal judges. The targets were not Americans. Never mind, the argument went, that FISA has no requirement of showing any probable cause of crime or even articulable suspicion on the part of the foreign target; this will keep us safe. Besides, the government insisted, it can’t be used against Americans.
That argument was bought by presidents, members of Congress and nearly all federal courts that examined it. We don’t know whether the authors of this scheme really wanted federal spies to be able to spy on anyone at will, but that is where we are today. Through secret courts whose judges cannot keep records of their own decisions and secret permissions by select committees of Congress whose members cannot tell their constituents or other members of Congress what they have learned in secret, FISA has morphed so as to authorize spying down a slippery slope of targets, from foreign agents to all foreigners to anyone who communicates with foreigners to anyone capable of communicating with them.
The surveillance state regime today permits America’s 60,000 military and civilian domestic spies to access in real time all the landline and mobile telephone calls and all the desktop and mobile device keystrokes and all the digital data created and used by anyone in the United States. The targets today are not just ordinary Americans; they are justices on the Supreme Court, military brass in the Pentagon, agents in the FBI, local police in cities and towns, and the man in the Oval Office.
The British system that arguably impelled our secession in 1776 is now here on steroids.
Enter the outsider as president. Donald Trump has condemned the spying and leaking, as he is a victim of it. While he was president-elect, the spies told him they knew of his alleged misbehaviors — vehemently denied — in a Moscow hotel room. Last week, his White House staff was shaken by what the spies did with what they learned from a former Trump aide.
Trump’s former national security adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, himself a former military spy, spoke to the Russian ambassador to the United States in December via telephone in Trump Tower. It was a benign conversation. He knew it was being monitored, as he is a former monitor of such communications. But he mistakenly thought that those who were monitoring him were patriots as he is. They were not.
They violated federal law by revealing in part what Flynn had said, and they did so in a manner to embarrass and infuriate Trump.
Why would they do this? Perhaps because they feared Flynn’s being in the White House, since he knows the power and depth of the deep state. Perhaps to send a message to Trump because he once compared American spies to Nazis. Perhaps because they believe that their judgment of the foreign dangers America faces is superior to the president’s. Perhaps because they hate and fear the outsider in the White House.
The chickens have come home to roost. In our misguided efforts to keep the country safe, we have neglected to keep it free. We have enabled a deep state to become powerful enough to control a powerful president. We have placed so much data and so much power in the hands of unelected, unaccountable, opaque spies that they can use it as they see fit — even to the point of committing federal felonies. Now some have boasted that they can manipulate and thus control the president of the United States by selectively revealing and concealing what they know about anyone, including the president himself.
This is a perilous state of affairs, brought about by the maniacal passion for surveillance spawned under George W. Bush and perfected under Barack Obama — all with utter indifference to the widespread constitutional violations and permanent destruction of personal liberties. This is not the government the Framers gave us. But it is one far more dangerous to human freedom than the one from which they seceded in 1776.
The topic came up after an interview with Yamiche Alcindor of The New York Times, who was brought on to discuss President Trump’s perpetuating criticism of the media. Brzezinski then voiced her concern that if the economy took a turn for the worse, people could start believing in Trump more than the press.
Scarborough responded, “Exactly. That is exactly what I hear. What Yamiche said is what I hear from all the Trump supporters that I talk to who were Trump voters and are still Trump supporters. They go, ‘Yeah you guys are going crazy. He’s doing—what are you so surprised about? He is doing exactly what he said he is going to do.’”
However, what Brzezinski said after caused many Morning Joe watchers to perk up. “Well, I think that the dangerous, you know, edges here are that he is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a scathing criticism of the UN Security Council over their “anti-Israel” bias on Thursday after emerging from her first regular monthly meeting at the international body.
“I have to admit; it was a bit strange,” Haley said of the council’s agenda.
The former South Carolina governor noted that while it is the UN Security Council’s mission to discuss ways to maintain international peace and security, their meeting on the Middle East failed to address some of the region’s most pressing issues — namely, Hezbollah’s illegal buildup of rockets in Lebanon, the money and weapons the Iran regime is supplying to its terrorist entities throughout Latin America and the Middle East, ways to defeat the Islamic State, and how to hold Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad accountable for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen.
“Instead, the meeting focused on criticizing Israel, the one true democracy in the Middle East,” Haley said. She added that while she is “new” to the United Nations, she is well-seasoned in her understanding of the UN Security Council’s generations-long bias against Israel. “I’m here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore,” she said. “I’m here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel.”
She called out the “breathtaking” double standards inherent in the Security Council.
“Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire department devoted to Palestinian affairs,” she said. “Imagine that. There is not a division devoted to illegal missile launches from North Korea. There is no division devoted to the world’s number one state sponsor of terror, Iran.”
Last December, the Obama administration fired a parting shot at Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by departing from longstanding U.S. policy of vetoing anti-Israel resolutions and instead abstained from voting on a Security Council resolution (UN Res 2334) calling for a halt to Israeli construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
Former U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power cast the abstaining vote on behalf of the Obama administration. An article in Foreign Policy describes Power’s final act of defiance against Trump as her refusal to take Haley’s phone call prior to the December vote. “Power’s advisors suspected Haley would try to persuade Power to veto the resolution, and she did not take the call,” Foreign Policy wrote.
“We will never repeat the terrible mistake of Resolution 2334 and allow one-sided security council resolutions to condemn Israel,” Haley said. “Instead, we will push for action on the real threats we face in the Middle East.”
In January, a group of Republican and Democratic senators signed onto bipartisan legislation that rejects UN Res 2334 and calls for it to be either “repealed or fundamentally altered so that it is no longer one-sided.”
Because the United States is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a veto from them would have automatically prevented the resolution from passing.
She also pointed out the rise of anti-Semitism in the world, which has seen an uptick over the last few years, and reiterated the Trump administration’s commitment to seeing to a peaceful solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict “that is negotiated directly between the two parties.”
Despite Friday’s meeting, Haley said “there is good news” outside of the UN.
“Israel’s place in the world is changing,” Haley said. “Israel is building up new diplomatic relationships; more and more countries recognize how much Israel contributes to the world.” She said they realize that Israel is “a beacon of stability in a troubled region.” She concluded her speech by saying, “it is the UN’s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change… The United States will not hesitate to speak out against these biases in defense of our friend and ally Israel.”
New CDC study blows away vaccine propagandists’ claim that methylmercury is dangerous but ethylmercury is safe
On January 18 of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a press release outlining guidelines regarding the eating of fish for women who are pregnant or who are trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding mothers and young children.
The new guidelines caution these vulnerable groups from eating seven types of fish which are known to contain high levels of mercury: king mackerel, bigeye tuna, marlin, orange roughy, shark, swordfish and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.
Interestingly, while noting its responsibility to ensure the safety of the country’s food supply, that very same press release also notes that the FDA protects public health by, among other things, assuring the “safety, effectiveness, and security of … vaccines and other biological products for human use.”
So, the FDA is directly involved in determining the safety of both food and vaccines, including mercury levels in both. (RELATED: See how well the FDA is doing its job at FDA.news)
And yet, for many years, both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have continued to insist, in the fact of all logic, that while mercury in fish is very dangerous, the mercury in vaccines (in the form of thimerosal) is perfectly safe.
Their consistent argument has been that while methylmercury, such as is found in fish, is very bad, the ethylmercury found in vaccines is fine.
Now, two of their very own scientists have published a study confirming the exact opposite of that statement. The meta-review was conducted by John F. Risher, Ph.D., and Pamela Tucker, M.D., of the CDC’s Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and was published last month in the journal Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.
The study found that thimerosal is extremely toxic to humans, even at very low doses, and that it is actually more dangerous than methylmercury in some cases. It is, for example, more damaging to cell mitochondria than methylmercury.
One would expect that since the study was conducted by the CDC’s own scientists, its recommendations would have changed. Not so; the website and vaccination schedules remain unchanged.
One of the significant findings of the review was that methylmercury and ethylmercury carry very similar levels of toxicity for humans. Their chemical properties are alike, and they both cause serious disruption and damage to the development and functioning of the central nervous system. The CDC’s website continues to insist that the “two types of mercury to which people may be exposed—methylmercury and ethylmercury—are very different.” [Emphasis added]
The CDC has also consistently claimed that ethylmercury leaves the body very quickly, with the website asserting: “Thimerosal contains ethylmercury, which is cleared from the human body more quickly than methylmercury, and is therefore less likely to cause any harm.” What did the study find? Not only does ethylmercury not leave the body quickly, but it also metabolizes into very damaging neurotoxic forms.
Since doctors and pediatricians all over the country rely on the CDC to provide up-to-date recommendations based on sound science, the failure to amend their earlier statements with this new evidence in mind means that the agency is directly responsible for placing the health and welfare of millions of children at risk.
Boyd Haley, chairman emeritus of the University of Kentucky Chemistry Department, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on mercury toxicity, calls this study “a nuclear bomb detonating over the CDC.” He notes that the study should be making international headlines. Of course, that just isn’t happening. (RELATED: To see what else the mainstream media is hiding, check out MediaFactWatch.com)
“This scientific paper is … one of [the] most important pieces of research to come out of the CDC in a decade,” said Paul Thomas, a pediatrician with 30 years of experience. “It confirms what so many already suspected: that public health officials have been making a terrible mistake in recommending that we expose babies and pregnant women to this neurotoxin. I regret to say that I gave these shots to children. The CDC led us all to believe that it was perfectly safe.”
And shame on them for that.
American taxpayers will spend more than $4.1 billion in the 2017 budget to support the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled by the federal government in the United States since October 2009, according to a cost estimate by Breitbart News.
To put that very large number in context, $4.1 billion can buy 10,677 new homes for $384,000 each, which is the average price of a new home sold in the United States in December 2016. Or it could buy 170,124 new autos for $24,100 each, which is the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu.
Even if the Trump administration were to entirely shut down the flow of refugees into the United States in FY 2018 and beyond, the refugees who have already arrived in the country will cost at least another $3.5 billion in 2018, and about $2 billion to $3 billion annually thereafter until FY 2022 and beyond.
The annual $4.1 billion cost of these refugees is about eight percent of “the total annual fiscal impact of first generation [immigrants to the United States] and their dependents, averaged across 2011-2013,” which the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in September 2016, estimated “is a cost of $57.4 billion.”
That report offered this summary of the characteristics of all immigrants to the United States between 1995 and 2014:
- The number of immigrants living in the United States increased by more than 70 percent—from 24.5 million (about 9 percent of the population) in 1995, to 42.3 million (about 13 percent of the population) in 2014; the native-born population increased about 20 percent during the same period.
- Annual flows of lawful permanent residents have increased. During the 1980s, just under 600,000 immigrants were admitted legally (received green cards) each year; after the 1990 Immigration Act took effect, legal admissions increased to just under 800,000 per year; since 2001 legal admissions have averaged just over 1 million per year.
- Estimates of the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States roughly doubled from about 5.7 million in 1995 to about 11.1 million in 2014.
“For the 2011-2013 period, the net cost to state and local budgets of first generation adults [who have immigrated to the United States] is, on average, about $1,600 each,” the National Academies report found.
The analysis that estimates a $4.1 billion annual cost of refugees is based on the same methodology and data used in a November 2015 study from the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which concluded that “in their first five years in the United States each refugee from the Middle East costs taxpayers $64,370—12 times what the UN estimates it costs to care for one refugee in neighboring Middle Eastern countries.”
The CIS study focused on cost estimates for refugees arriving from ten Middle Eastern countries derived from the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees contained in the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s Annual Report to Congress FY 2013 published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.
The ten Middle Eastern countries included in the 2015 CIS study were Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Yemen.
Those countries accounted for 155,865 of the 519,018 refugees who have been resettled in the United States since FY 2010, according to the State Department’s interactive website.
Breitbart used the data in that same 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees for all countries who send refugees to the United States (more than one hundred countries), and applied the same methodology CIS used to determine the costs for the Middle Eastern refugees within that group.
Our analysis shows that over a five year period, American taxpayers pay $59,251 per refugee, or $5,119 less than the average Middle Eastern refugee over the same period of time.
The 2015 CIS study limited the cost estimates to five years because the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees data was limited to refugees who had been in the country for five years or less. The survey, then, is of refugees who were resettled in the United States between FY 2009 and FY 2013.
In the Breitbart News estimate, we assumed that those costs would diminish to 50 percent of the annual average for years 1 through 5 in year 6, 25 percent in year 7, 10 percent in year 8, and zero in years 9 and beyond for each refugee.
It is reasonable to assume that overall welfare usage will decline the longer a refugee is in the country.
For instance, per the 2014 Annual Survey, 95 percent of refugees here for a year or less are in the SNAP (Food Stamps) program. By contrast, after 5 years of residence 60 percent of refugees are in the SNAP program—about 4 times the national average.
Leaving aside the inadequate rate at which refugees are leaving some welfare programs, in at least one significant welfare program the rate goes up with each year in the country.
SSI, a cash welfare program for the disabled or elderly, is used by about 14 percent of refugees in the first year of arrival. Slightly more than 29 percent of refugee families who have been here for five years have one or more members receiving SSI, a lifetime benefit in most cases. Each year of residence brought an increase in the rate of SSI usage, as Table 1 below, taken from the Office of Refuge Resettlement’s 2014 Annual Survey of Refugees (where it is listed as Table II-20) shows.
|Table 1: Public Benefits Utilization (Percentage) by Year of Refugee Arrival|
|Years Since Actual Arrival:||< 1 Year||1 Year||2 Years||3 Years||4 Years||5 Years|
|Refugee Cash Assistance||43.5||29.3||2.8||1.5||1.0||5.1|
|Medicaid or RMA||78.3||75.2||57.9||49.1||54.0||44.2|
Source: Office of Refugee Resettlement 2014 Annual Survey of Refugees, Table II-20.
The November 2015 CIS study calculated a dizzying array of twelve specific federal programs which provide direct and indirect financial benefits to refugees. Table 2 below, a truncated version of the same table that appeared in the CIS study, shows the amount of money the average Middle Eastern refugee receives from each of these twelve programs over their first five years in the United States, which totals $64,370.
|Table 2: Estimated Five Year Costs For Middle Eastern Refugees Resettled in the US|
|Cost Category||Use Rate||Ave. 5 Yr. Costs($)|
|Without Health Insurance||12.7%||1,234|
|Subtotal for Welfare, Uninsured, and Education||55,140|
|Bureau of Population, Refugees, and||4,433|
|Migration within State Department|
|ORR within HHS||4,797|
SOURCE (from the November 2015 CIS Study): Rates for SSI, TANF, SNAP, general assistance, and housing are from the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees (ASR) and are household-based. Figures for Medicaid and lack of health insurance are also from the ASR, but reflect individual use rates. Average payments for SSI, TANF, and SNAP are from Census Bureau data. Average payments for some programs come from administrative data and other sources. Average education costs are from the National Center for Education Statistics. We estimate that 28 percent of refugees are school-age (1.12 students per household). See text for additional explanation for how estimates were made.
The Breitbart News estimate of a $59, 251 cost to taxpayers over five years for the average refugee resettled in the United States simply applies the actual use rates for each of these twelve programs found in the 2013 Annual Survey of refugees for all refugees, and applies it on a pro-rata basis to the calculations first used in Table 2 by CIS.
To illustrate this metholodogy, the average use rate for SSI among Middle Eastern refugees was 32.1 percent, according to the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees. In the same table of that report, the average use rate for SSI among all refugees was 21.1 percent, hence, the five year cost for all refugees for SSI is estimated at $3,559, as opposed to $5,414 for Middle Eastern refugees.
Here are the use rates for all refugees by cost category used in the Breitbart News estimates, as found in the 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees: TANF, 19.0 percent. SNAP, 74.2 percent. General Assistance, 12.4 percent. Public/Subsidized Housing, 22.8 percent. WIC, 16.2 percent. School Lunch, 23.9 percent. Medicaid, 56.0 percent. Without Health Insurance, 20.2 percent. Public Education, 28.0 percent.
Table 3 summarizes the Breitbart estimate of $4.1 billion annual costs to taxpayers for resettled refugees in FY 2017:
Table 3: FY 2017 Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of Resettled Refugees
|Refugee Arrival Year||Refugees||Cost||Cost per Refugee|
*The cost for the first five years is estimated at $59,251. Years 6 through 8 add an additional $8,503 in costs, bringing the total to $67,754.
The November 2015 CIS report offered a number of caveats, including the following:
- It is worth adding that ORR often reports that most refugees are self-sufficient within five years. However, ORR defines ‘self-sufficiency’ as not receiving cash welfare. A household is still considered “self-sufficient” even if it is using any number of non-cash programs such as food stamps, public housing, or Medicaid.
- The estimated costs reported here are conservative because they only include costs incurred by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); costs for resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR); public education; and most welfare programs.
- There are many public expenditures not included in this analysis, such as the cost of local social workers who help refugees sign up for assistance, English language instruction in public schools not covered by ORR, and many means-tested programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, for which we do not have data. Costs for basic government services such as infrastructure maintenance, law enforcement, and fire protection are also not included. There are many public expenditures not included in this analysis, such as the cost of local social workers who help refugees sign up for assistance, English language instruction in public schools not covered by ORR, and many means-tested programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Head Start, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, for which we do not have data. Costs for basic government services such as infrastructure maintenance, law enforcement, and fire protection are not included.
- While Middle Eastern refugees in the first five years must pay some taxes to offset a fraction of the costs they create, published data from ORR indicates that more than 90 percent of households have incomes below 130 percent of poverty, which means they will pay virtually no income tax and will make very modest tax contributions of all types.
For help in sorting out that dizzying array of twelve federal programs that provide financial benefits to refugees, the November 2015 CIS report offers the following (with emphasis added):
State Department Expenditures. The State Department reports that 69,926 refugee were admitted to the United States in 2013. While the State Department also helps refugees overseas, the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) within the State Department spent $310 million on resettling refugees in the United States in 2013. This means that an average of $4,433 was spent per refugee in 2013. These figures include costs for the “overseas processing of refugee applications, transportation-related services, and initial reception” and “housing, furnishings, clothing, food, medicine, employment, and social service referrals”. In this analysis we assume the amount spent by PRM per Middle Eastern refugee is the same as for refugees from the rest of the world.
Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The ORR spent nearly a billion dollars in 2013, but a significant share went to help the resettlement of unaccompanied minors and their families from Central America. Expenditures on new refugees and other related groups such as Cuban/Haitian entrants and asylees were $613,963,000 in 2013. Asylees and Cuban/Haitian entrants are essentially eligible for the same programs as refugees. Dividing this amount by the 128,000 individuals that ORR reports are covered by its programs (excluding unaccompanied minors) means that $4,797 was spend per refugee by ORR in 2013. In general, ORR only provides assistance to local communities, charities, and the refugees themselves in the first year after they arrive in the country or are awarded asylum. After a year, charities and state and local social service agencies are expected to care for them.
Refugees and Welfare. Unlike other new legal immigrants, refugees are eligible for all welfare programs upon arrival. Further, there are several short-term programs, such as Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA) and Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA), for which only refugees and other humanitarian immigrants are eligible. Refugees have the most generous access to welfare programs of any population in the country. The ORR conducts the Annual Survey of Refugees each year and the 2013 survey provides a detailed profile of the socio-demographic and economic characteristics of refugees who entered the country in the prior five years, including use of many of the nation’s major welfare programs by sending region. We use information published by ORR on Middle Eastern refugees’ welfare use as the basis of our cost estimates.
Welfare Use Rates. The 2013 Annual Survey of Refugees shows the following welfare use rates for Middle Eastern refugee households: 32.1 percent receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), 36.7 percent receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), 17.3 percent receive General Assistance, 91.4 percent receive the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also called food stamps), and 18.7 percent live in public housing. The refugee survey also reports that 73.1 percent of individual Middle Eastern refugees are on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.
It should be kept in mind that the survey reports welfare use for all Middle Eastern refugees who arrived in the last five years, not just new arrivals. Many refugees get RMA and RCA, but then transition to Medicaid and other cash programs like TANF or SSI after the eight-month eligibility window for RMA and RCA runs out. So, for example, use of TANF is likely lower for the first eight months than the 36.7 percent reported above. To be sure, some refugees access cash welfare or Medicaid in the first eight months. But for those refugees who have been in the country for more than eight months the rate is higher than 36.7 percent. The 36.7 percent represents the use rate for all Middle Eastern refugees in the Annual Survey of Refugees who arrived in prior five years averaged together. For this reason, it is possible to estimate five-year costs for welfare programs based on published information from the survey, but it is not possible to estimate welfare costs for, say, the first year after arrival.
It should be noted that published figures from the refugee survey provide only use rates, not payment amounts received by refugees. It is necessary to estimate payments using other data sources.
Average Welfare Payments and Costs. To estimate welfare payments and costs by household we use Census Bureau data and other information. To get per-person costs for programs reported at the household level, we divide by four based on the assumption that average Middle Eastern refugee households receiving welfare consist of four people. This assumption is based on the Annual Survey of Refugees…
To estimate average payments by household for SSI, SNAP, and TANF we use the public-use files of the 2013 to 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the Current Population Survey (ASEC CPS) collected by the Census Bureau. We match the countries listed as being part of the Middle East to the ORR list of countries from that area using the country of birth reported in the ASEC CPS.8 The ASEC CPS shows an average payment of $13,494 from SSI for immigrant households from the Middle East (refugee and non-refugee) using the program. For TANF, the same data shows an average payment of $5,061, and for SNAP it was $4,039.9 It should be noted that the ASEC CPS generally underestimates welfare use.10 Because we do not adjust for this undercount, actual average payments are likely higher than that reported here. All payment figures are rounded to nearest dollar.
To estimate payments from general assistance programs, we average state payment figures compiled by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The average annual benefit across states for this program is $2,885.12 (We assume that there is only one person per refugee household receiving this program.) For the average cost of housing programs we use the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website, which shows an average cost per unit of public or subsidized housing of $637 per month ($7,644 per year).
The Annual Survey of Refugees does not provide estimated use rates for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program or the free or subsidized school lunch program. For completeness, we include estimates for these small programs by assuming that the use rates for these two programs among Middle Eastern refugees is proportional to their use of SNAP… [T]he school lunch program and WIC add only modestly to the five-year average costs per individual. However, refugee use of these programs still would cost millions of dollars annually.
Health Insurance Coverage. Healthcare coverage is reported at the individual level in the refugee survey, not the household level. There are three types of “coverage” that create costs for taxpayers: the Refugee Medical Assistance program, Medicaid, and those refugees who are uninsured. Costs for the RMA program are covered by ORR and are included in the expenditures for that agency reported above. For the Medicaid cost we use the average costs figure reported in the Office of the Actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services annual report. In 2013, the program cost was $6,897 per enrollee. The refugee survey reports 12.7 percent of individual Middle Eastern refugees had no medical coverage in any of the previous 12 months. Based on information from the Kaiser Family Foundation on the non-elderly without health insurance, we estimate that uninsured refugees cost $1,943 on average annually.
Public Education. Data is not reported in the refugee survey on the share of Middle Eastern refugees who are in primary or secondary school. However, the refugee survey does show that 65.1 percent of all refugee households who arrived in the previous five years, not just those from the Middle East, have children under age 16. The State Department also reports that 24.1 percent of Iraqi and 33.6 percent of Afghan refugees were school-age (five to 17), the two largest groups of Middle Eastern refugees for which there are statistics in fiscal year 2013.19 Based on these figures, we estimate that 28 percent of new Middle Eastern refugees are school-age and enrolled in public school. This means that there is slightly more than one child in public school per Middle Eastern refugee household.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that average per-pupil expenditures in the United States are $12,401.20 There are certainly added expenses associated with helping refugee children in school, such as helping those who have emotional issues due having been traumatized. We do not include those costs here partly because we do not have any reliable figures for how much extra it costs to educate these children. We also do not include them because some share of these costs are paid for, at least in the first year, by ORR grants and are included above in that agency’s expenditures in the first five years.
Sources familiar with the federal refugee resettlement program who have reviewed the Breitbart News estimate say that estimate probably significantly underestimates the cost of refugees to federal and state taxpayers.
“They’re recruiting in grade-school but generally fifth grade and on,” Northern Virginia Regional Task Force Director Jay Lanham told FOX5. Fifth graders are a prime target because they’re beginning to find themselves, he said. “Drastic” changes in behavior can tip off a parent to gang involvement, such as when a child loses all interest in studies and sports and “hates” going to school.
Latino gangsters recruit from Maryland and Northern Virginia schools filled with Latino students. Latino gangs come with the Latino population, which increased from 2.6 percent in 1990 up to roughly 8.6 percent in 2013, according to the American Immigration Council. “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem. I mean, everyone has to be involved, and it starts with the parents,” Lanham continued. Over half, or roughly 54 percent, of Hispanic births in the U.S. are out-of-wedlock.
Latinos under 18 are prime recruitment targets, since penalties for juveniles are less harsh than those levied at adult criminals. Young recruits begin committing assault and larceny at a young age, then proceed to drug trafficking and violent crime, according to one expert.
MS-13 appeared in the news once more after a brutal murder of a 15-year-old Latino girl whose mother said she became involved with one of the gang’s clique. Police arrested ten, including four young illegal adults, charging them with abduction and gang participation. Two of the adults are charged with murder.
The Obama administration shipped illegal alien minors with clear MS-13 ties—including vivid gang tattoos seen by Border Patrol agents—to MS-13 strongholds such as the Washington, D.C. area during the illegal alien minor surge from Central America.
MS-13 has operated in the Washington, D.C., area since the 1990s.
A survey of Hispanics in the U.S. revealed as many as two million non-citizens are illegally registered to vote, reinforcing claims by President Donald Trump that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election.
The National Hispanic Survey was designed to measure the opinion of Hispanic U.S. residents on a range of political issues. The survey was conducted in June 2013 by survey research firm McLaughlin and Associates.
The poll used a random sample of 800 Hispanics, of those selected, 56 percent said they were non-citizens, and 13 percent of those non-citizens said they were registered to vote. Those categorized as non-citizens would likely be a mix of illegal aliens, visa holders and permanent residents. The poll did not ask whether they actually voted or not.
The Washington Times reports:
James Agresti, who directs the research nonprofit “Just Facts,” applied the 13 percent figure to 2013 U.S. Census numbers for non-citizen Hispanic adults. In 2013, the Census reported that 11.8 million non-citizen Hispanic adults lived here, which would amount to 1.5 million illegally registered Latinos.
Accounting for the margin of error based on the sample size of non-citizens, Mr. Agresti calculated that the number of illegally registered Hispanics could range from 1.0 million to 2.1 million.
“Contrary to the claims of many media outlets and so-called fact-checkers, this nationally representative scientific poll confirms that a sizable number of non-citizens in the U.S. are registered to vote,” Mr. Agresti said.
Another 8.3 million non-Hispanic non-citizen adults were living in the U.S. in 2013, according to the Census.
Considering this poll only covers Hispanics, which only make up a portion of the total illegal alien population, it is very possible that there may have been more than 2 million illegal votes cast in the 2016 election.