60% of Refugees to US in Last Month Arrived from Terror-Prone Countries

February 16, 15:30 EST

     Sixty percent of the refugees admitted into the United States since a federal judge halted President Trump’s executive order designed to prevent “foreign terrorist entry into the United States” originate from five of the seven countries identified by the administration and its predecessor as most risky.

Of the total 2,576 refugees resettled in the U.S. from around the world since U.S. District Judge James Robart’s February 3 restraining order, 1,549 (60.1 percent) are from Syria (532), Iraq (472), Somalia (363), Iran (117), and Sudan (65). No refugees have arrived from the other two applicable countries, Yemen and Libya.

Of the 2,576 refugees to have arrived since Feb. 3, 1,424 (55.3 percent) are Muslims – 817 Sunnis, 132 Shi’ites, and 475 refugees self-identified simply as Muslims, according to State Department Refugee Processing Center data.

Of the refugees hailing from the specified countries of terrorist concern, Muslims accounted for the overwhelming majority of those admitted in all cases except for Iran.

Muslims comprised 99.6 percent of the admissions from Syria; 73.5 percent of those from Iraq; 99.7 percent of those from Somalia; and 93.8 percent of those from Sudan. Of the Iranian refugees admitted, by contrast, only 9.4 percent were Muslims, while just under 60 percent were Christians of various denominations.

Trump’s Jan. 27 order barred entry to the U.S. of all refugees for 120 days; prohibited entry to refugees from Syria indefinitely; and blocked all entry – immigrant and non-immigrant – by nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen for 90 days.

(The order does not itself name the seven countries, referring instead to “countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1187(a)(12).” That law, signed by President Obama in Dec. 2015, required additional security for arrivals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Sudan and any other country designated by the Department of Homeland Security as a source of legitimate terrorism concerns. Two months later Obama’s DHS added Somalia, Yemen and Libya to the list of “countries of [terrorist] concern.”)

In the week between Trump’s inauguration and his Jan. 27 executive order, a total of 2,090 refugees were admitted to the U.S., of whom 918 (43.9 percent) were from the identified countries: 296 from Syria, 218 from Iraq, 211 from Somalia, 155 from Iran, 37 from Sudan, one from Yemen and none from Libya.

The following seven-day period – from the day of the executive order to the day before the judge’s restraining order – only 19 refugees were admitted from the countries of concern (18 Somalis and one Iraqi, all but two arriving on the actual day of the order). Those 19 comprised just 2.2 percent of the total 861 arrivals over that period.

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