Nearly 2,500 refugees have entered the United States from countries which are now under new travel restrictions since President Donald Trump took office, according to a new report.
A total of 2,466 refugees from six countries under new travel restrictions – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have resettled in the US under Trump presidency, a report by the PEW Research Center said on Tuesday.
The number of refugees from the six travel-restricted countries represents 32 per cent of all refugees who have entered the US since Trump took office.
Trump recently signed a revised version of his controversial travel ban, barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and shutting down the country's refugee program while security measures are reviewed. The order comes into effect on March 16.
A previous order that took effect January 27 and also barred citizens of Iraq was struck down by the courts.
"During the first full week of Trump’s presidency (January 21-27), 687 refugees from the six restricted countries entered the U.S., accounting for 34 per cent of all refugee admissions that week. The following week, Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, refugee admissions from the six restricted countries all but stopped after Trump’s original executive order on restrictions took effect," the PEW report said.
The report said that refugee admissions resumed shortly after a federal judge in Washington state suspended key parts of Trump’s initial order on February 3 and lifted the travel restrictions, a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court.
In the first seven weeks of Trump presidency (January 21 to March 10), a total of 7,594 refugees have entered the US including that from countries with no travel restrictions. Of these refugees, 3,410 are Muslims (45 pc) and 3,292 are Christians (43 pc), with other religions or the religiously unaffiliated accounting for the rest.
Since October 1, 2016, refugees who hold citizenship from the six restricted countries have accounted for more than a third (34 pc) of 37,716 refugee admissions. Among the six countries identified in the order, Syria (5,585), Somalia (4,703) and Iran (1,893) are the leading nationalities of refugees who have entered the U.S. so far in the period. A total of 595 refugees from Sudan have entered the U.S. during this time, while 18 refugees are from Yemen and three are from Libya.
Refugees who enter the US need to get approved by the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, a process that includes screening by the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services and other federal agencies.
Once approved by the bureau, refugees undergo a health screening, and most also go through cultural orientations prior to entering the US The entire process can take 18 to 24 months.