US Resettles Fewer Refugees Than Rest Of The World Combined For The First Time

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The number of refugees resettling in the United States decreased dramatically in 2017, marking the first time the U.S. has resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world, according to a Pew Research Center analysis on Thursday.

Since the creation of the U.S. Refugee Act in 1980, the U.S. has consistently taken in the largest amount of resettled refugees compared to any other country combined, receiving 3 million of the 4 million resettled refugees since 1980.

But the U.S. resettled 33,000 refugees in 2017, the lowest since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 and a significant decrease from 97,000 in 2016, according to the Pew report.

Non-U.S. countries resettled nearly twice as many at the U.S. did — 69,000 — but that number is also significantly lower than it was in 2016, when it was 92,000.

Despite the drop in numbers, the U.S. still resettled more refugees than any other single country in 2017.

Behind the U.S., the numbers are as follows:

  • Canada (27,000)
  • Australia (15,000)
  • United Kingdom (6,000)
  • Sweden, Germany, Norway, France (~3,000)

Resettling refugees are different than asylum seekers in that resettling refugees don’t arrive at their desired country until after receiving legal approval, because they apply while they are still in another country. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, cross borders and attempt to settle in countries without any previous legal approval, and then apply for asylum.

While the number of refugees resettling in these countries is declining, the population of refugees is actually increasing globally.

The refugee population increased by 2.75 million in 2017, reaching a record of 19.9 million people displaced, according to data Pew acquired from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). (RELATED: Trump’s Budget Request Supports 50,000 Refugees)

The majority of refugees, 56 percent, are mainly coming from Syria, as well as regions of the Middle East and North Africa.

Pew projects the U.S. will have historically low refugee resettlements again in 2018, as President Donald Trump and his administration have lowered the designated amount of refugees the U.S. plans to take in to 45,000.

The administration’s travel ban might also contribute to lower numbers in the future, as the number of Muslim refugees admitted to the U.S. has already dropped more than any other religious group.

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