Syrian Refugee Admissions Up under Trump, but not Because of Trump

According to a recent Daily Caller article, President Trump has admitted 1,401 Syrian refugees since taking office. This figure, it claims, is more than double the number of Syrian refugees (625) resettled by President Obama during the same period last year. However, the reality is that the majority of these refugees were probably approved for admission into the United States before President Trump even took office. Moreover, President Trump’s actions clearly show that he does not see the admission of massive numbers of refugees as a viable option.

In fiscal year 2016, the Obama Administration pledged to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. During the first 8 months of the fiscal year, it admitted 2,805 refugees.  The administration admitted nearly 10,000 Syrian refugees during the remainder of the fiscal year, exceeding its target by 20.5 percent. Before leaving office, Obama announced his intentions in fiscal year 2017 to dramatically increase refugee admissions to 110,000, a 30 percent increase over fiscal year 2016. He took this action without regard to the difficulties involved in vetting applicants from Syria and other hotbeds for terrorism. In fact, on its way out the door, the Obama administration put a 90-day cap on the time available for vetting refuges and mounted a surge operation intended to bring as many Syrian refugees as possible to the United States.

During a campaign debate with Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, President Trump said “tens of thousands” of Syrian refugees are pouring into the country, and he warned, “They represent a great Trojan horse that will spawn future terrorist attacks.” Even Jeh Johnson, Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security said, “We know that organizations like ISIL might like to exploit this [Syrian refugee resettlement] program.”

As president, Trump followed through with his campaign promises and sought to ensure the proper vetting of refugees to protect America from those with ties to terrorism. On January 27, President Trump signed an executive order that suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days and suspended admissions of Syrian refugees since they could not be properly vetted. After that order was blocked by activist federal judges, President Trump issued a new one that reestablished the 120-day temporary suspension of USRAP.

President Trump’s executive actions did actually halt the number of Syrian refugees entering the country until they were blocked. During President Trump’s first full week in the White House, refugees from the six restricted countries totaled 34 percent of all refugees then seeking admission to the United States. The week after President Trump signed the first executive order, refugee admissions from the six restricted countries practically stopped. They resumed after the orders were blocked.

While the number of Syrian refugees appears to have doubled under President Trump, the reality is the surge in refugee admissions appears attributable to the Obama administration and activist federal judges. Rather than secure our borders and ensure the safety of the American people, they would rather play fast and loose with the vetting process to further their policy agenda.

About Author


Shari Rendall brings to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) over 15 years of experience in government relations and grassroots advocacy. In her former position, Shari led the legislation department in coordinating lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill and briefing congressional and administration staff on a wide range of issues. She has also been responsible for grassroots communications and helping state associations devise their legislative strategies. She began her time in D.C. working on Capitol Hill in the office of former Sen. Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire) as a Legislative Aide.


  1. avatar

    Are there any numerical predictions available on how many refugees will or will not apply for refugee status because of the ban and Trump’s rhetoric ? Are there any predictions for any other sectors under migrants?

    • avatar

      The Supreme Court Should Implement the Ban on Refugees Now

      Europe’s Great Britain suggests gun boats stop the refugee flow into like France….diplomacy will not stop ’em and cowardice allows ISIS to infiltrate….FREXIT follows BREXIT??? LOL

  2. avatar

    According to all the critics Trump should have been able to walk on water by now. Some of us seem to remember when he tried a travel ban it immediately got tied up in the courts. It only make sense that there are a lot of people in the pipeline already, due to Obama.

    The problem is that Muslims do not want to integrate into this country in spite of all their claims to the contrary. We are expected to change for them, not the other way around. A few years ago, Somali Muslim cabdrivers in Minneapolis, home of deputy Democratic chairman and Nation of Islam apologist Keith Ellison, wanted to be able to refuse customers carrying liquor in their luggage. Businesses have been sued because they refuse to allow Muslim employees to pray any time they deem necessary and they refuse to allow all the Muslims to break at one time because it shuts the business down if there are a lot of them.

    It’s no wonder their countries are failures. How do you get anything done when you have to pray five times a day and women are excluded from many if not all jobs. A full half of college degrees in Saudi Arabia are in “Islamic studies”. How about something that relates to the modern world maybe.

    The news media today carried the stories about nationwide power outages and mentioned how out of date and stretched to the limit most of our electrical infrastructure is. But none will make the connection between that and our population growth of over 25 million people per decade, most of that driven by immigration. It is hugely expensive to provide the infrastructure for those extra people. It’s the immigration restrictionists who supposedly are the know-nothings but at least they can recognize the same pie can only be sliced into so many pieces.

      • avatar

        Please point to the part in the constitution where it says people outside this country have a right to come here. Or that they have any rights at all under our constitution. There is federal law, upheld by the Supreme Court repeatedly, that says the President can decide who enters.

        • avatar

          Please understand what I said…and the reason the first executive order did not PASS!!!! or are you in denial!!! it was proven the lady fired was a mistake and she protected us….and the judges stopped the executive order….if you cant understand that then you are no American in this land….do some soul searching for a change….

          • avatar

            Nice deflection. First of all, there are hundreds of federal judges and because a couple rule one way doesn’t mean they will be upheld. The Supreme Court has already ruled many times the president can do what he wants on this issue. You told me to “read the constitution” and I asked you what part you are talking about. Point it out. No speeches, no bluster, quote the words you claim support your argument.

          • avatar

            Leland the only deflection here is your mind and critical thinking do some soul searching and abide as per our Constitution

          • avatar

            And the second one got stopped by a lower level judge too so that just shows that you can find some judge somewhere to rule your way. It will move to the Supreme Court where they will confirm what they have confirmed before. You’re still avoiding pointing out the language in the constitution that you encourage everyone to “read”. Because it’s not there.