- Based on current trends, the IRC projects 21,292 refugees will be resettled in the United States in Fiscal Year 2018, far below the Trump administration’s 45,000 refugee cap.
- By this time in FY 2017, Syrians fleeing the war comprised 15 percent of arrivals in the U.S; in FY 2018, they comprise 0.5 percent.
- 13 percent of refugee arrivals in FY 2018 identify as Muslim, compared to 48 percent in FY 2017.
New York, NY, January 25, 2018 — On the eve of the anniversary of the Trump administration’s travel ban, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) today released projected figures for refugee resettlement in the United States. The IRC’s analysis shows the nation’s resettlement program on track to resettle only 21,292 refugees in Fiscal Year 2018, well below the administration’s 45,000 cap, and far below the historic annual average of 95,000.
The analysis is based on data covering the period Oct. 1, 2017, through Jan. 23, 2018.
Said David Miliband, IRC president and CEO –
“The shocking figures we are releasing today show that the U.S. is on track to cut by three quarters the number of refugees allowed into the country for resettlement. This is a dramatic shift from 30 years of bipartisan practice, and represents an unprecedented assault on U.S. global leadership in this area.
“It is no exaggeration that the future of America as a home for refugees is now on the line. Congress needs to hold the administration to account for missing its own target, announced just four months ago.
“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 IRC notes modest but still insufficient movement to address refugee populations prompted by upheavals in The Democratic Republic of Congo, Bhutan and Myanmar. More alarming are several trends tied to the extended travel ban, “red tape” vetting measures, and select family reunification holds, all of which prompt serious concerns for the integrity and impartiality of an immigration program historically based on need.
Syrian Resettlement insufficient in light of need
- Only 34 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since October 2017, just 0.5 percent of all refugees finding safety during this period.
- In the same period in FY 2017, about 4,675 Syrian refugees were admitted to the U.S., or 15 percent of all arrivals.
- The war continues in Syria; in recent weeks, nearly 250,000 people have fled fighting and airstrikes in northwest Syria; 6,500 are forced from their homes every day.
- Learn more about IRC’s work in Syria.
Iraqi Refugees Have Been Abandoned
- Only 81 Iraqi refugees have been resettled in the U.S. since October 2017, 1 percent of the total.
- In the same period in FY 2017, about 4,700 Iraqi refugees were admitted to the U.S., or 15 percent of all arrivals.
- The Trump administration has overseen a dramatic decline in admissions of Iraqis who supported U.S. and agencies, and face persecution as a result. In FY 2017, the U.S. admitted 3,051 such Iraqis; only 29 have been resettled in the first quarter of FY 2018.
Inadequate Response to ISIS-Targeted Yazidi Population
- Only 3 Yazidi refugees have arrived in the U.S. in FY 2018.
- In the same period in FY 2017, about 265 refugees were resettled.
- Yazidi are an ethnic and religious minority in Iraq and Syria singled out for persecution by ISIS; increased “red-tape” vetting is expected to create further delay in resettlement for this vulnerable community.
Shocking Decline in Muslim Arrivals
- 791 refugees identifying as Muslim comprise only 13 percent of all refugees admitted to the U.S. so far in FY 2018.
- By comparison, 14,496 people identifying as Muslim, or 48 percent of all refugees, were admitted to the U.S in FY 2017 in the same period.
- 13 percent represents a figure well below the historic average; Pew Research analysis found that in the 15-year period from 2002 to 2017, Muslims made up about 33 percent of all refugees admitted to the U.S.
CAM Program Sabotaged
- The IRC estimates some 2,700 vulnerable individuals were aided by the CAM (Central American Minors Refugee and Parole) program in 2017. CAM allows parents lawfully in the United States to bring their children from the northern triangle of Central America: Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
- It is estimated that around 7,000 CAM applicants had pending interviews with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when it was announced in November 2017 that the interviews would end January 2018, leaving thousands with little hope for DHS interviews.
- Resettlement agencies were given just 24 hours’ notice that new applications would no longer be accepted, preventing an effective final call.