U.S. Refugee Arrivals Plunge Under Trump

Even as President Trump's executive order on immigration remains blocked by federal courts, the number of refugees arriving in the U.S. is still plummeting. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows refugee resettlement has dropped in 46 states during the first few months of the Trump administration.  Texas has seen one of the biggest declines, with refugee arrivals here down nearly 70 percent over a six month period, from 1,096 refugees last October to 353 this April.

The main reason for the decline is another executive order signed by President Trump that capped the annual number of refugee arrivals to the U.S. at 50,000, down from a cap of 110,000 last year under President Obama.  The drastic change hasn't gone unnoticed by resettlement agencies and organizations that work with refugees.  "We had a certain rhythm going until the travel ban, and then it slowed, and then it trickled and stopped, and then it picked up again," says Lubna Zeidan, program director for Interfaith Action of Central Texas, which helps refugees already here.  "We were expecting 110,000 this year, and then we go from 110 down to 50, and it may not even be 50."

Zeidan tells KTRH that while U.S. policy toward refugees has changed, so has the attitude of some refugees, even those who are already settled here.  "A lot of people who have other family members in Europe or Australia have been asking is there a way that they could go there, instead of being here," she says.

Last year, about 85,000 refugees entered the U.S., but based on the numbers so far, this year is likely to see less than half of that amount.

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