The Slatest

Number of Refugees Entering U.S. Plunges by Almost Half Under Trump

Syrian refugee Baraa Haj Khalaf clutches an American Flag as she leaves O’Hare Airport with her family after arriving on a flight from Istanbul, Turkey on February 7, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

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The first three months of President Donald Trump’s administration was not a particularly good time to be a refugee trying to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security has released the figures that show how the number of refugees admitted into the country plunged by nearly half under Trump. Around 13,000 refugees entered the United States in the first three months of Trump’s presidency, compared to the 25,000 who were admitted at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration.

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The comparison is particularly stark because the numbers suggest there was a sharp boost in refugee intakes during the final months of the Obama administration. The 25,000 arrivals recorded in the last three months of Obama’s presidency marked an 86 percent increase, on the year. Even disregarding this sharp increase though, the numbers were still down under Trump. Refugee arrivals declined 12 percent in the first three months of Trump’s presidency, compared to the same period last year.

The nationalities of the refugees remained largely the same with five countries—the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Myanmar—making up two-thirds of the total arrivals during the two periods. That suggests the numbers would have been even lower if courts had not blocked Trump’s efforts to impose a travel ban on certain countries, including Syria and Somalia.

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