Trump Pulls Welcome Mat For Refugees

Tribune Washington Bureau
Published: 6/24/2017 12:04:31 AM
Modified: 6/24/2017 12:04:43 AM

Washington —The number of refugees admitted to the U.S. was cut by nearly half in the first three months of the Trump administration compared with the final three months of Barack Obama’s presidency, reflecting the new president’s skepticism toward immigration.

Government statistics released Friday showed that more than 25,000 refugees were permitted to enter and reside in the United States at the end of the Obama administration. In the first months under President Donald Trump, the number fell to 13,000.

The statistics were released by the Department of Homeland Security, based on information supplied by the State Department.

Countries of origin were largely unchanged. In both periods, two-thirds of the arrivals came from five countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Burma.

Refugees from two of those countries — Syria and Somalia — would have been banned under Trump’s executive order against entries from certain Muslim-majority nations, but federal courts blocked the order. Trump’s original order covered Iraqis as well, but he omitted Iraq from his revised order.

The data suggest that the Obama administration, as it was about to turn over power to Trump, stepped up the number of refugees admitted. Arrivals in Obama’s final three months reflected an 86 percent increase from the comparable period the previous year.

In Trump’s first three months, arrivals were down 12 percent from the comparable period in 2016.

Trump has sought to limit the number of refugees to 50,000 this year. The United States already has one of the lowest quotas of refugee admissions among major receiving countries. Nations closer to conflict zones like Syria have taken in millions of refugees.

More people have been displaced from their home nations because of violence and poverty than at any other time since World War II.

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