Refugee Arrivals Slide and Shift With Trump

Enhanced vetting of refugee under the Trump administration is resulting in sharply fewer resettlements in the United States.

Refugee admissions to the United States in October and November plummeted 83 percent from the same period last year. A total of 3,108 refugees were admitted during the first two months of fiscal 2018 – down from 18,300 a year ago.

Look for the trend to continue as the United States announced Sunday it had pulled out of the U.N. Global Compact on Migration. According to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the terms imposed by the compact were “simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.”

A FAIR Primer on Refugees

Along with the reduction in raw refugee numbers, the makeup of the refugees resettled in the United States changed significantly.

The top five sending countries in October-November 2016 were the Congo (4,236 refugees), Somalia (2,463), Iraq (2,262), Syria (2,259) and Burma (1,509).

The new top five are Bhutan (805), the Congo (627), Burma (347), Ukraine (290) and Eritrea (281).

In its last full fiscal year, the Obama administration admitted 84,994 refugees. Based on recommendations of the Departments of State and Homeland Security, President Trump has proposed a refugee admission ceiling of 45,000 for FY 2018, even as the United States continues to take a leading role in protecting refugees and displaced persons around the world.

With some 65 million refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced people around the world – and the numbers growing each year – permanent resettlement in Western or neighboring nations is no longer a viable response to the crisis. Such policies are both inadequate to deal with the scope of the problem and present empirical security risks to the receiving nations.

Reaffirming our commitment to both protecting true refugees and the security of the nation, Haley emphasized that, “Our decisions on [refugee resettlement]must always be made by Americans and Americans alone.”

About Author


Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

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