Despite the dramatic increase in global terrorism and numerous reports that ISIS is using refugee programs to infiltrate Western countries, the Obama administration has ramped up the importation of refugees from high-risk, terror-plagued regions. A new Pew Research analysis of data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center found that almost half of the refugees the U.S. has taken in this year have been Muslim, many of which are coming from areas with heavy terrorist activity.
“The U.S. has received 28,957 Muslim refugees so far in fiscal year 2016, or nearly half (46%) of the more than 63,000 refugees who have entered the country since the fiscal year began Oct. 1, 2015,” Pew reports. The Obama administration plans to let in a total of 85,000 by the end of the year (10,000 of which from Syria).
That nearly 29,000 Muslim refugees, Pew notes, is the highest number admitted in any year since 2002. The percentage of Muslim refugees accepted so far is also the first time since 2006 that Muslim refugees have held a higher percentage of the total refugee number than Christians (27,556), which account for 44% of the refugees this year.
Pew provides a breakdown of the Muslim refugees by country:
Just two countries – Syria (8,511) and Somalia (7,234) – were the source of more than half of this year’s Muslim refugees. The rest are from Iraq (6,071), Burma (Myanmar) (2,554), Afghanistan (1,948) and other countries (2,639).
Pew also crunched the numbers on the ideological beliefs of Syrian refugees. Of the nearly 8,600 admitted so far, 99% are Muslims, while just 1% are Christian.
Below is a chart showing the refugees admitted since 2002 broken out by ideology, Muslims taken up a larger percentage in recent years:
The refugee numbers do not include asylum seekers, which is a distinct category of immigrant. One of the key differences between the two is that refugees are processed overseas before being admitted into the country, while asylum seekers claim that status after already having arrived in the country.
According to Pew, the number of refugees only account for about 10% of the total number of immigrants admitted in each year. The federal government does not keep track of the religious affiliation of new legal immigrants, so there is no way of knowing for sure the ideology of the roughly 1 million new immigrants entering the U.S. every year, though some have attempted to provide some rough estimations. One recent study estimated that in total, as of 2012, about 10% of legal immigrants were Muslim, while about 60% were Christian.
As the Obama administration ramps up its efforts to bring in more refugees from the Middle East, European leaders have begun to face increasing pushback from the people about their failure to assimilate Muslim immigrants and clamp down on terrorist activity, which has seen a startling increase this year.