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Refugee figures fall sharply in 2017

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2018 | Asylum

Florida residents may not be surprised to learn that the number of refugees admitted to the United States plummeted during the first year of President Trump’s administration. Trump vowed to tighten border controls and closely scrutinize those seeking entry into the country during a contentious election campaign, and figures from the Department of State indicate that the policies he put into place led to fewer refugees being admitted in 2017 than in any year since this data was first made available in 2002.

The State Department data reveals that 29,022 refugees were admitted into the United States between Trump’s inauguration and the end of 2017. Refugee figures were as high as 217,000 under President Reagan and fluctuated between 70,000 and 80,000 under Presidents Bush and Obama. Things are not likely to improve for those fleeing persecution abroad in 2018 as Trump has chosen to reduce the annual refugee cap to 45,000 in the year ahead. This is the lowest figure since Congress created the program in 1980.

The last time the figures were this low was in 2002 when 29,468 refugees were admitted. However, this came at a time when all forms of immigration were being closely scrutinized in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. Experts say that the refugee numbers were especially low in 2017 because the program was halted for several months after Trump alleged that it was ripe with fraud and being taken advantage of by terrorist organizations.

Attorneys with experience in immigration law may be able to represent individuals seeking asylum in the United States to escape persecution in their home countries. The bureaucratic obstacles placed before those hoping for a new life in America can seem formidable, but attorneys may be able to help immigrants to navigate the maze of regulations and advocate on their behalf when their applications are challenged or denied.