The US Has Admitted Three Times as Many Christian Refugees as Muslims Since 2017
The global number of Muslim refugees is rising, but the US admitting fewer than past years.
The US has admitted fewer and fewer refugees since 2016. And while the US welcomes only a tiny fraction of world’s more than 22.5 million refugees, its borders seem to be closing off to Muslim refugees in particular.
The US took in just over 12,000 refugees between October 2017 and April 2018 — about one-third of the amount it took during the same period the year before — putting 2018 on track to be one of the worst years for US refugee resettlement in decades. The drastic drop in numbers of refugees admitted to the US is largely due to the Trump administration lowering the cap on refugees to 45,000, the lowest it’s been since the current refugee resettlement program was established nearly 40 years ago.
But the reduction in numbers of acceptances has not been felt equally across refugee populations, Quartz reported. In previous years, Christian and Muslim refugees have been resettled to the US in nearly equal shares, but since last October, the US has admitted more than three times as many Christian refugees as Muslim refugees, according to data from the US State Department.
Globally, the number of Muslim refugees is rising, according to the Pew Research Center.
Over the past few years, Muslim-majority Syria and Afghanistan have consistently been among the world’s top two origin countries of refugees. Syria, still in the midst of a civil war, continues to displace hundreds of thousands. And Myanmar’s escalating conflict with its Muslim Rohingya population recently displaced more than 650,000 people.
Yet Muslim refugees account for just 17% of the 12,188 refugees admitted to the US so far since October 2017.
The precipitous drop in numbers is, in part, due to policy changes like President Trump’s travel ban, which restricts people from countries like Iran, Somalia, Syria, and North Korea from traveling to the US. The “Muslim ban,” as Trump’s executive order is often called, almost exclusively impacts people from Muslim-majority countries.
Soon after his inauguration, Trump also said in an interview that he wanted to prioritize Christian refugees hoping to resettle to the US.
Less than 1% of the world’s refugees were resettled in 2016, meaning millions continue to live in limbo. Refugees typically spend several years displaced from their countries without being safely resettled; many spend more than a decade in camps, facing uncertain futures.
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