Courts may have stymied President Trump’s efforts to restrict travel from six majority-Muslim countries and ban all refugee resettlement, but that has not stopped the number of refugees entering the United States from sharply declining.
Monthly refugee arrivals have plummeted in all but four states in the current fiscal year, according to a report published Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
The study, based on analysis of U.S. State Department data, shows a decline in refugee arrivals from 9,945 in October to 3,316 this April.
“This decline has been felt by 46 of the 50 states, and only four states had a higher number of refugees in April 2017 than they had in October 2016,” said Phillip Connor, a Pew research associate. “What is significant here is that we had a decline nationally for the first five months straight of the fiscal year, which is the longest consecutive decrease on record.”
However, the figures in April were higher than in March.
An executive order signed this year by Trump limits the total number of refugees allowed into the U.S. to 50,000 this year. Implementation of the order — which was rolled out in January and updated in March after court challenges — is still stalled by legal proceedings. But if the regulation were to be enacted it would mean that a maximum of 7,586 additional refugees could be resettled through September, the end of the federal fiscal year.
The president’s order also calls for barring all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days unless their travel is formally approved by the State Department.
The Obama administration had wanted to increase the refugee intake from 85,000 to 110,000 this fiscal year.
California, Texas and New York resettled the most refugees in fiscal 2016, taking a combined total of 20,738 people, or about a quarter of the U.S. total, according to Pew data. So far this year, these states are among those that have seen the biggest drop in refugee arrivals, Connor said.
For example, 1,096 refugees were resettled Texas in October, but that number plummeted to 353 in April, according to the report. California and Arizona both had over 450 fewer refugee arrivals in April than in October. And the refugee intake for California this month was 249 as of Wednesday, Connor said.
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