Refugee Admissions Reach Historic Lows
Thanks to the travel ban and other smart policy changes, only 54,000 of the expected 110,000 refugees were admitted during 2017.
From Inauguration Day (Jan. 20th) to December 31st, the Trump Administration accepted just 29,022 refugees. To give you a comparison, the Obama Administration accepted nearly 95,000 refugees in 2016.
Refugee figures for 2017 are the lowest we’ve seen since 2002, when the US slowed down immigration following the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Roughly 1,200 refugees entered the US during the month of October, which marks the beginning of FY2018.
In addition to the travel ban, which was approved by the Supreme Court in December, no more than 45,000 refugees will be allowed to enter the US for the remainder of the year. The Trump Administration’s 45,000-person cap is the lowest set since 1980, when Congress established the Refugee Resettlement Program.
Each president has the authority to set the annual refugee limit, which was as high as 217,000 during the Reagan Administration. For Bush and Obama, the limit hovered between 70,000 and 80,000.
President Trump’s travel ban and refugee cap represent another campaign promise fulfilled.
“This is what he said he’s going to do, and he’s doing it,” says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.
Critics argue the low refugee cap will damage America’s reputation and harm companies that depend on refugees for work. “There are ways to help refugees get to places of safety and begin a new life that serves the American interest,” says Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Past administrations have been able to do that. This administration is not so interested.”
Refugees make up a tiny percentage of the roughly 1 million immigrants allowed into the US each year. The word “refugee” refers to a person who is granted asylum because he fears persecution in his home country.
President Trump has long argued that America’s refugee program is a beacon for terrorists seeking entry into the United States, and his controversial travel ban was enacted in the name of national security.