Number of Syrian Refugees Admitted to U.S. Declines for Fourth Consecutive Month

Human rights activists and people from the Muslim community display placards during a demonstration in New York on December 10, 2015, in solidarity for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / JEWEL SAMAD (Photo credit should read
Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States under the federal refugee resettlement program has declined for the fourth consecutive month.

In February, the first full month of the Trump administration, 673 Syrian refugees were admitted into the country. In March, that number fell to 282. The decline continued into April, when 226 were admitted and the number admitted so far in May has declined further to 156.

All told, since January 21, President Trump’s  first full day in office, a total of 1,603 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the United States, according to the State Department’s interactive website.

This contrasts with the 12,587 Syrian refugees admitted into the United States in FY 2016 (out of 84,994 total refugees admitted), the last full year of the Obama administration, and the 4,618 Syrian refugees (out of 30,122 total refugees admitted) during the 3 months and 20 days President Obama was in office during FY 2017.

On the campaign trail, President Trump said he would stop the inflow of all Syrian refugees, at least temporarily, a marked contrast to Hillary Clinton, who said she wanted to dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted into the country.

“When I’m elected president, we will suspend the Syrian refugee program and we will keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” Trump promised just days before the election.

He also promised that “[a] Trump administration will not admit any refugees without the support of the local community where they are being placed.”

President Trump’s executive orders to temporarily halt the entire refugee program for 120 days and impose a travel ban on a handful of Middle Eastern countries deemed to be havens of terrorism by previous administrations for 90 days have been stymied by the courts.

Overall, 16,262 refugees have been resettled during the first 4 months and 11 days of the Trump administration: 2, 326 during the last 11 days of January, 4,580 in February, 2,070 in March, 3,316 in April, and 3,957 in May.

According to a New York Times story last week, officials in the State Department have told the voluntary agencies (VOLAGs), who are paid more than $1 billion per year by the federal government to resettle refugees, the number of refugees who will be resettled during the last 4 months of FY 2017 will double.

As Breitbart News reported, it is not clear if the White House was informed of – or approved – this increase before the State Department announced it to the VOLAGs.

Should the State Department follow through on its statement to the VOLAGs, as reported by the Times, the total number of refugees resettled in the United States during FY 2017 will be less than in FY 2016, but comparable to all the other prior years of the Obama administration, as Breitbart News noted last week:

Earlier this week, Breitbart News estimated that if the refugee entry rate continued at the level of 817 per week (the rate of the four most recent weeks), the total number of refugees admitted to the United States in FY 2017 by September 30 would be 60,672.

If the rate of refugee admission continues at the 1,500 per week level reported by the Times for the remaining 18 weeks of FY 2017, the total number of refugees admitted in the United States during FY 2017 will be 72,996. . .

“Before FY 2016, the number of refugees resettled in the United States under the Obama administration declined from 74,649 in FY 2009 to 56,424 in FY 2011, then increased to 69,933 in FY 2015,” Breitbart News reported. During the George W. Bush administration, the number of refugees admitted into the United States annually “ranged from a low of 28,390 in FY 2003 to a high of 60,191 in FY 2008.”

Last month Breitbart News reported, “[President] Trump has reduced the overall number of refugees resettled, something that he implied but did not specifically promise on the campaign trail, but the level of reduction falls far short of the virtual halt many of his supporters had hoped to see.”

One month later, the continued decline in the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the country is offset by the New York Times report that the number of refugees is likely to double for the next four months.


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