Refugee Resettlement in the U.S. Drops Significantly Since Trump Presidency

Refugee resettlement numbers have declined in most U.S. states since October 2016 after President Donald Trump issued a controversial travel ban that included a temporary freeze on refugee admissions into the U.S.

Using State Department data, the Pew Research Center on Thursday found that admissions numbers fell from 9,945 in October 2016 to 3,316 in April 2017. April saw an uptick, compared with the low of 2,070 refugee admissions in March 2017.

While Pew doesn't give a specific reason for the decline, Trump stated in his two executive orders issued this year that U.S. refugee admissions shouldn't exceed 50,000 for the 2017 fiscal year. That's a significant decline from the 110,000 annual ceiling set by the Obama administration. The executive order also barred the entry of nationals from six Muslim-majority countries.

Related: Trump lawyer says travel ban is about national security, not discrimination

Texas, California and Arizona, states that resettle some of the largest numbers of refugees, also had some of the biggest declines. Texas, which had 1,096 arrivals in October 2016, had just 353 in April. Maine, which has a history of resettling Somali refugees, had the largest percentage decrease, with 90 percent fewer refugees between October 2016 and April.

Four states actually saw higher refugee admissions than usual during the 2017 fiscal year. Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi had a larger number of refugees in April than in October 2016, although the four states resettled very small numbers of refugees to begin with.

The impact of the travel ban doesn't affect just the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. Several organizations supporting resettlement had to lay off staff, including Church World Service, which let go of hundreds of employees who prepared refugees from African countries for travel.

In Pennsylvania, which saw a 40 percent drop in refugee resettlement, several local agencies have noticed the decline in numbers, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. One agency, the Northern Area Multi Service Center, saw its revenues decline and laid off three workers.

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