The number of refugees admitted into the United States increased 19 percent in the month of May to 3,969, which was 653 more than the 3,316 admitted in April, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
Slightly fewer of these refugees were Muslim.
One thousand one hundred and ten Muslims were admitted to the United States as refugees in May, 19 fewer than the 1,129 admitted as refugees in April.
Muslims as a percentage of all refugees admitted declined from 34 percent in April to 28 percent in May.
During the 4 months and 11 days of the Trump administration, 38 percent, or 6,243 out of 16,261 total refugees admitted, were Muslim.
During FY 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, 45 percent, or 38,555 out of 89,994 total refugees admitted, were Muslim.
The percentage of all refugees admitted from the seven Middle Eastern countries whose residents were temporarily banned from obtaining travel visas to the United States under President Trump’s first travel ban executive order (EO 13769) has declined slightly from 43 percent (36,722 out of 84,994 total refugees) in FY 2016 to 38 percent (6,181 out of 16,261 total refugees) during the first 4 months and 11 days of the Trump administration. (Those seven countries were Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.)
Most of the decline in refugees from these seven countries is due to a significant drop off in Syrian refugees, from 14.8 percent of total refugees in FY 2016 (12,587 out of 84,994) to 9.8 percent (1,603 out of 16,261) in the first four months and 11 days of the Trump administration.
That drop off in Syrian refugees is accelerating in each successive month of the Trump administration.
“The number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States under the federal refugee resettlement program has declined for the fourth consecutive month,” Breitbart News reported earlier this week.
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.
News of the increase in total refugees in May, a fact not changed by the decline in Syrian refugees, appears to confirm the report last week in the New York Times that officials in the State Department have told the voluntary agencies that the number of refugees admitted to the United States will nearly double from the rate of 830 per week to about 1,500 per week for the last four months of FY 2017.
The Times report was further confirmed by The Huffington Post, which reported on Monday that “The United States appears to be resuming its longstanding efforts to resettle refugees after the program was derailed and almost completely upended abroad for several months.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “has begun to expand its interview schedule in the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year,” public affairs officer Marilu Cabrera told HuffPost in a statement on Friday. The Department of Homeland Security is working with the State Department to plan for a “further expansion” through the end of fiscal year 2017, she added.
The upsurge in refugees has perplexed critics of the federal refugee resettlement program, most of whom strongly supported Trump during the presidential campaign on the basis of his campaign promises to suspend the Syrian refugee program and tighten refugee vetting procedures.
“[I]t does appear that the resettlement contractors are getting excited that it will flow with gusto soon since they are rehiring staff they let go shortly after Trump put out his first Executive Order,” Ann Corcoran wrote at Refugee Resettlement Watch on Wednesday.
“The Republicans in Congress funded the US Refugee Admissions Program [in the budget passed in May for the balance of FY 2017] at a level for 75,000 refugees to be admitted by September 30th (the last day of this fiscal year), and Trump signed it! . . . [T]he President has the power to set the ceiling in “consultation” with Congress. If Trump wanted to take them on he could ask for a rescission of those funds to admit the numbers he wants—which he said would be under 50,000!” Corcoran continued.
“Every day that the White House is silent on the stunning news we heard last week says to me that the White House agrees with the 75,000 admissions this year,” she said:
Why do the Republicans in Congress want to keep the pipeline going?
It is because most of them work for their big business donors and the Chamber of Commerce to guarantee a steady supply of cheap immigrant labor! Adding insult to injury, your tax dollars support refugee families through the welfare system because wages are too low! You pay for the importation of the labor and for the laborers’ support once here!
It is really quite a difficult obstacle for us (who wish to see the USRAP reformed) to overcome—big businesses and global corporations pushing cheap labor in conjunction with so-called ‘religious’ charities (paid by taxpayers!) claiming this is all about humanitarianism while essentially acting as ‘head hunters’ for big business.
As Breitbart News reported previously, “It is unclear if the State Department made this upward adjustment with the knowledge and approval of President Trump.”
One possible explanation is that Obama holdovers in the State Department and at USCIS at DHS, in combination with a recent State Department appointee who was, prior to the election, a Trump critic, have joined forces to undermine Trump’s refugee policies.
In March, for instance, the Daily Caller reported that “Brian Hook, a Trump critic and former Bush administration official, is currently serving as the State Department’s director of policy planning.”
Foreign Policy magazine previously reported that Hook was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s favorite for the role and a department spokeswoman confirmed to TheDC Thursday that Hook got the job. The director of policy planning is a key position responsible for running the department’s internal think tank, which is home to the secretary of state’s speechwriters.
Hook previously served in the Bush administration in several roles, including as assistant secretary of state for international organizations, and later served as a foreign policy adviser for Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign.
The State Department official also co-founded the John Hay Initiative, a neoconservative group that organized a letter of over 100 Republican foreign policy experts who would refuse to back Trump. Eliot Cohen, another co-founder of the John Hay Initiative, has been a strong critic of the Trump administration.
It is unclear, however, what, if any, influence Hook has had on the recent changes in the State Department’s Refugee Admissions Program policies.