Only 1,639 refugees were admitted to the United States in April, bringing the total arrivals during the first seven months of FY 2018 to 12,188. At this pace, the Trump administration will admit fewer than 21,000 refugees in FY 2018, the lowest number of annual arrivals since the enabling legislation, the Refugee Act of 1980, was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.
Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch wrote on Tuesday that “from the contractors point of view, it was another dismal one for agencies collecting a per head payment for refugees they place and ‘take care of’ for only a few months.”
There are nine major contractors, known as voluntary agencies (VOLAGs), all of whom are primarily funded by the government. Until the current fiscal year under the Trump administration, these VOLAGs collectively received more than $1 billion annually from the federal government to resettle refugees around the country.
The nine VOLAGs, with the percentage of their funding that comes from the federal government, can be seen here:
- Church World Service (CWS) (71%)
- Ethiopian Community Development Council (ECDC) (secular)(93%)
- Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) (99.5%)
- Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) (57%)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC) (secular) (66.5%)
- US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) (secular) (98%)
- Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) (97%)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) (97%)
- World Relief Corporation (WR) (72.8%)
Corcoran noted that the number of refugees who arrived in April “is below average for the previous six months,” and credits President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo, and National Security Advisor Bolton for the continuing low level of refugee admissions.
“It will be interesting to see what happens with the Refugee Program . . . now that a couple of serious hardliners are in place. CAIR recently called Pompeo an ‘Islamophobe,’ ” she wrote, adding:
I know for many of you this is 1,607 too many, but believe me this is catastrophic for those NGOs that got fat and lazy on budgets as much as 99% supplied by the US taxpayers.
In September of 2017, President Donald Trump (the President has the complete authority to set the cap for the coming year), set the FY18 cap/ceiling at 45,000. At the present rate he will likely just pass the 20,000 mark for the year.
Corcoran pointed out “there is no legal requirement that he reach the ceiling he set.”
Two-thirds of the 1,639 refugees admitted in April came from just three countries: The Democratic Republic of Congo (696), Burma (351), and the Ukraine (83).
Only 25 of the refugees admitted in April came from the seven countries designated as “hotbeds of terrorism” to whom the temporary travel ban in Executive Order 13769 signed by President Trump in January 2017 applied: Somalia (21), Iran (1), Iraq (1), Libya (1), Sudan (1), Syria (0), and Yemen (0).
Seventy percent of April’s arriving refugees, or 1,159 out of 1,639, were Christian, while only 13 percent, or 221, were Muslim.
The number and composition of refugees who have been admitted to the United States under the Trump administration differs dramatically from the Obama administration.
In FY 2016, for instance, the last full year of the Obama administration, a total of 84,995 refugees were admitted to the United States.
As for countries of origin, 36,696 refugees in FY 2016 were from the seven countries President Trump designated as “hotbeds of terrorism” in Executive Order 13769, as Breitbart News reported:
During FY 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, the number of arrivals from those seven countries was much higher. A total of 36,696 refugees arrived that year from those seven countries: Somalia (9,020), Iraq (9,880), Sudan (1,458), Syria (12,587), Iran (3,750), Yemen (0), and Libya (1).
Forty-six percent of those arrivals in FY 2016 were Muslim, while 44 percent were Christian.