Muslim Refugee Admissions to America Have Plunged Over Past Two Years Under Trump

Under the Trump administration, the number of Muslim refugees admitted into the country under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has plummeted over the past two years, with numbers dropping to their lowest levels in nearly two decades in fiscal year 2018.

While numbers appeared to pick up slightly in fiscal year 2019, with 4,900 Muslim refugees admitted into the country, they represent a significant drop from fiscal year 2017, in which more than 20,000 Muslim refugees were admitted into the U.S.

They also represent an even more significant departure from 2016's numbers, when the number of Muslim refugees entering the U.S. hit a historic high of 38,900, outpacing Christian refugee admissions, which fell at around 37,500, according to the Pew Research Center.

Over the past two years, however, Muslim refugee admissions have sunk back to around the same levels they were at in 2002, the year after the events of September 11.

And while "the numbers from fiscal year 2018 to 2019...did go up," Phillip Connor, a senior researcher with the Pew Research Center, told Newsweek, "as a share of the actual total of refugees resettled in the United States for those two years, they are about the same, at around 16 percent."

In the years since President Donald Trump took office, the U.S. has seen refugee admission numbers plummet across the board, with the government planning to admit a record low maximum of 18,000 refugees into the country under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in fiscal year 2020.

The new cap, which represents a significant decline from the already lowered 30,000 limit the Trump administration imposed in fiscal year 2019, is the lowest the U.S. has seen in the 40 years since it started its Refugee Admissions Program.

But while Muslim refugees made up roughly 16 percent of the 30,000 refugees admitted into the U.S. in fiscal year 2019, Christian refugees accounted for nearly 80 percent of the group.

"Christians accounted for 79% of refugees who came to the U.S. in fiscal 2019," a report from Jens Manuel Krogstad of the Pew Research Center states, citing federal data. "The U.S. admitted about 23,800 Christians, compared with about 4,900 Muslims and smaller numbers of other religious groups."

As Krogstad notes, the disparity in admissions between the two religious groups "marks a sharp reversal from several years ago."

In fiscal year, 2016, he notes, "Muslims accounted for 46% of the year's refugees, the highest share since fiscal [year] 2006."

Overall, since fiscal year 2002, or from October 1, 2001 to September 30, 2019, when fiscal year 2019 ended, the U.S. has admitted as many as 464,700 Christian refugees and about 310,700 Muslim refugees.

The disparity between the two religious groups, however, could widen if the current pattern continues over the years to come.

This article has been updated with comment from Pew Research Center senior researcher Phillip Connor.

A sign welcomes people to the U.S. from Mexico on June 25, 2018 in Brownsville, Texas. The number of Muslim refugees being welcomed into the U.S. has lowered in recent years. Spencer Platt/Getty