President Trump has had a dramatic effect onto the types of refugees being accepted into the United States under his Administration.
Reports now say that a majority of refugees admitted to the United States are now Christian. Under Obama it seems as if the majority of those refugees were Muslim.
In the months of May and June, Muslims made up approximately 30% of total refugee intake, as compared to being 50% of total refugee intake at the time of Trump's Inauguration.
Christians now make up nearly 60% of total refugee intake, while they only made up 40% of total refugee intake at the time of the inauguration.
Trump has also imposed a limit of 50,000 a year on the total refugee intake. As of now, almost all of those 50,000 slots have already been filled.
From President Donald Trump’s first full day in office on January 21 through June 30, 9,598 Christian refugees arrived in the U.S., compared with 7,250 Muslim refugees.
Christians made up 50% of all refugee arrivals in this period, compared with 38% who are Muslim.
Some 11% of these arrivals belong to other religions, while about 1% claim no religious affiliation.
The religious composition of refugees to the U.S. has been shifting on a monthly basis under President Trump as well. In February, Trump’s first full month in office, Muslims accounted for 50% of the 4,580 refugees who entered the U.S., and Christians made up 41% of arrivals. By June, Christians (57%) made up a larger share of arrivals than Muslims (31%).
This stands in contrast to fiscal year 2016 under the Obama Administration, when a record number of Muslim refugees entered the U.S. and Muslims made up a higher share of admitted refugees than Christians (46% vs. 44%, respectively).
However, the shift in the religious composition of refugees since January falls in line with longer-term trends of the past. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2016, Christians outnumbered Muslim refugees in all but three of those years,2005, 2006 and 2016.
The religious affiliation of refugees has come under scrutiny since Trump first issued an executive order on Jan. 27 announcing restrictions on people traveling into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), a temporary halt of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, and a new, lower cap on refugee admissions (set to 50,000 people annually).
Legal challenges held up this executive order, but the U.S. Supreme Court recently allowed parts of the administration’s second version of the order, dated March 6, to take effect until the court hears the case sometime this fall.
It’s remains unclear as to why the religious composition of refugees to the U.S. has changed since February. President Trump’s revised Executive Order states no religious preference for refugee admissions.
Also, it’s not yet known whether or not the religious composition of refugee applicants (not arrivals) has shifted during the Trump Administration, since it is most likely that many refugees admitted from February through June actually applied to the Refugee Resettlement Program before Trump took office (the refugee application process typically takes between 18 and 24 months to complete).
Overall the total refugee admissions to the U.S. in fiscal 2017 (which ends Sept. 30) are on pace to fall below the 85,000-person ceiling established by the Obama administration for fiscal 2016, a year that saw 84,995 actual refugee arrivals.
At the same time, arrivals for the current fiscal year are already nearing the new cap set by Trump in his executive order. As of June 30, the United States had already admitted 49,255 refugees.
However, under the Supreme Court’s recent order, refugees with close family members in the U.S. may continue to enter the U.S. even after the new cap is reached.