It is no exaggeration that the future of America as a home for refugees is now on the line.
With the Trump administration's travel ban in full effect, the International Rescue Committee released new data showing the United States has drastically reduced the number of refugees allowed to enter the country for resettlement.
The numbers are shocking:
The number of Muslim refugees entering the U.S. has plummeted by 94 percent.
Only 791 refugees who identify as Muslim have entered the U.S. since October 2017. By comparison, the U.S. admitted 14,496 people identifying as Muslim from October to January in the prior year. Almost half of all refugees admitted last year were Muslim.
The Trump administration’s latest version of the travel ban, which went into effect in October, institutes new vetting measures for refugees and restricts admission for people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
The number of Syrian refugees who have been safely resettled in America has dropped by almost 100 percent.
Only 34 Syrian refugees have been resettled since the start of October compared to 4,675 during the same period last year.
The war that has devastated Syria since 2011 is far from over. Last year, 6,500 people were forced to flee their homes every day. Nearly 250,000 people have fled from renewed fighting and airstrikes in northwest Syria.
The administration’s determination to squeeze the life out of the refugee resettlement program will harm the lives, and life chances, of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, and it sets a terrible moral example to the rest of the world.
The number of refugees from Iraq entering the country has dramatically decreased by 98 percent.
Only 81 Iraqi refugees—many who have supported the U.S.— have been resettled in comparison to 4,700 arrivals during the same period last year.
The battle to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from ISIS forced more than one million people to flee. Although the terror group has been pushed out of most of the city, suffering continues for those who endured harsh ISIS rule for two years.
Only three Yazidi refugees have been welcomed to America.
Yazidi people are one of the many ethnic minority groups persecuted and violently targetd by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
In the prior year, 265 Yazidi refugees were resettled in the U.S.
“ISIS murders us," says Adil Kheder Nimr, a Yazidi refugee resettled by the IRC in Seattle last January. "They chopped our heads, they did horrible things to our women, they killed children and destroyed our homes. They are still coming for us."
All told, the IRC projects only 21,292 refugees will be resettled in the U.S.—77 percent below the historic annual average.
"The administration’s determination to squeeze the life out of the refugee resettlement program will harm the lives, and life chances, of some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, and it sets a terrible moral example to the rest of the world,” said IRC President and CEO David Miliband.
Despite protests and a year of legal challenges, the travel ban still stands. What's worse, the Trump administration continues to find new ways to yank back the welcome mat. Americans has historically welcomed refugees fleeing war and persecution. No matter who’s been in the White House, Republican or Democrat, the United States has long been a beacon of hope for refugees. Until now.
*The analysis is based on data covering the period Oct. 1, 2017, through Jan. 23, 2018.