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Refugee Admissions Decline, On Pace to Hit Lowest Numbers in Decades

The number of refugees that have been admitted to the United States since President Donald Trump took office has plummeted. 2018 is likely going to see the lowest number of refugees admitted into the country in decades.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1 through March 31, only 10,548 refugees have been allowed to enter the U.S. This number is 74% lower than the numbers for the same period in the 2017 fiscal year. The 2017 period also included the last four months of Barack Obama's presidency.

According to data collected by the Refugee Processing Center, a program operated by the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; as of now, the country is set to let in just 21,000 refugees this year. Should this occur, it would be by far the lowest annual number since 1980, when contemporary refugee policies were first put in place.

While the Trump administration has already slashed the number of refugees allowed for the year by more than half of the previous year, from 110,000 to 45,000 refugees, unless there's a substantial surge over the summer, the number of refugees admitted won't even hit 50 percent of the new cap.

In addition to the significantly lowered cap, refugee admissions have been reduced due to other administrative policy changes, including enhanced screening procedures and partial bans on refugees from nations that the administration has deemed "high-risk." The most recent of these bans was lifted back in January.

Prior to the 2016 fiscal year, when the refugee cap was increased as a response to the crisis caused by the Syrian civil war, the Obama administration admitted an average of 67,000 refugees each year.

The number of refugees who settled in each state and in the District of Columbia fell across the board between 2017 and 2018. So far, no refugees have been settled in Hawaii and Wyoming in 2018.

Maine was among the states with the largest decrease, accepting only 661 refugees in 2017 and just 83 in 2018 (an 88% drop). In Michigan, 4,986 were accepted in 2017 and 925 in 2018 (81 % fewer), while Texas dropped its admittance from 8,645 to 1,986 (a 77% drop). California settled 9,100 refugees in 2017, the most of any state. In 2018, just 1,949 refugees have settled in the state.

The State Department has yet to say if it will attempt to speed up the admission of new refugees to meet the 45,000 cap. One spokesperson did say that "The refugee admissions ceiling of 45,000 is not a quota but represents an upper limit of refugee admissions for this fiscal year."

According to the United Nations, there are 22 million refugees worldwide. Over than half of these refugees are children who are under the age of 18. The majority of the world’s refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.

Do you need help seeking asylum in the U.S.? We can help. Contact our Daytona Beach immigration attorneys to schedule a free case consultation today.