President Donald Trump called Syrian refugees a “great Trojan horse” during the 2016 campaign, but his administration has resettled them in a quicker pace than President Barack Obama did.
Since Trump was inaugurated, 1,401 Syrian refugees have been resettled, State Department figures as of Wednesday reveal. This is more than double the 625 Syrian refugees resettled under President Obama in the same time frame last year.
The president has admitted about a third fewer refugees from all nations than Obama’s State Department did in this time span, as he has resettled 10,565 refugees so far and Obama resettled 14,841. Syrian refugees, however, were a particular focus of President Trump’s when he was running for office.
“Bad, bad things are gonna happen,” Trump said about Syrian refugee resettlement at an August rally.
As president he signed executive orders temporarily halting refugee admittance from all nations, with the first one he signed banning Syrian refugee resettlement indefinitely. However, both of these actions were halted by the courts.
After the first order was blocked by a Seattle judge, Trump tweeted, “77% of refugees allowed into U.S. since travel reprieve hail from seven suspect countries.” (WT) SO DANGEROUS!”
As of Wednesday, 44 percent of refugees have been from these “seven suspect countries” (Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and Somalia).
The Department of Justice is currently appealing the two decisions that put Trump’s latest executive order on hold. A hearing for one of the cases is set for May. Last September, then-Secretary of State John Kerry told lawmakers that the U.S. seeks to admit 110,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2017, which runs from Oct.1 2016 through the end of September.
A State Department official told The Daily Caller, “This language represents a ceiling on refugee admissions—it is not a mandatory target.”
“Due to a variety of factors, including the ongoing litigation and uncertainty regarding future funding levels, we are not in a position to speculate as to the final number of refugees that will be admitted by the end of this fiscal year,” the official added.
The State Department would need to resettle refugees at about double the current pace to hit this ceiling for the fiscal year.
Republican Texas Rep. Brian Babin did introduce legislation before Trump took office that would prohibit refugee admittance until Congress passes a joint resolution allowing it. This received 72 cosponsors, but died in committee. Conservative author Ann Coulter told The Daily Caller in an email, “YES!” when asked if she was disappointed with congressional leadership over this inaction.