The number of immigrants from countries named in President Donald Trump’s travel ban nearly halved since the president took office.
There were 2,551 immigrants from countries listed in the ban during March 2017 and 2,013 during April. That’s down nearly half from a monthly average of 4,454 during former President Barack Obama’s last year in office, according to a Monday Roll Call analysis of a Department of State report.
The nations listed in the president’s second travel ban are Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria, and Libya. Trump originally listed Iraq in his first attempt signed in January, but removed the country at the request of Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
The travel ban is still pending judicial review as the executive order makes its way through the court system. The 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled against the order Monday, and the White House will now take the matter to the Supreme Court for review.
The president rescinded the first order after numerous judges issued restraining orders blocking the ban, which the 9th Circuit upheld after review.
Immigrants from those nations continue to make up a very small number of the total number of immigrants, according to the State Department. Overall, 906,166 visas were approved in March, up slightly from a 2016 monthly average of 865,124 issues visas.
Additionally, the United States allowed 46,607 refugees so far in 2017, but nearly two-thirds of that amount came into the country before Trump signed the first executive order.
It remains unclear what the true source of the stark decline is. It could be that the administration is simply allowing fewer immigrants to come from those countries, or it could be a general uneasiness immigrants feel about entering the country after the travel ban took effect.
“I would imagine it’s both,” staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, Justin Cox told Roll Call about the surprising drop. “If I were from one of those countries, I certainly wouldn’t feel welcome in the United States right now.”
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