Extreme vetting is working.
The United States resettled 3,316 refugees from foreign countries last month, an increase over March but still far less than the 8,112 monthly average for the first four months of the fiscal year, according to statics released Friday.
What’s more, April continued a long downward trend in resettlements from war-torn Syria. From October through January, and average of 1,221 Syrians came each month. In February, President Donald Trump’s first full month in office, the United States accepted 673 Syrian refugees. That number dropped to 282 in March and 226 in April.
rump tried to freeze the refugee programs altogether for several months to give the government time to review procedures used to scrutinize refugees for possible terrorist ties. But a federal judge in Washington State put that and other measures on hold in February. A federal judge in Hawaii last month froze a revised executive order the included a refugee pause.
While the courts have stymied Trump, the statistics from the Refugee Processing Center suggest that the administration has quietly taken steps to dramatically slow the flow of refugees from failed states and countries that sponsor terrorism.
“I think the president might be doing more ‘extreme vetting’ than what was done before,” said Christopher Hajec, director of litigation at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which supported Trump’s travel ban. “I’m sure that these procedures have been developed.”
Fewer refugees are coming from other majority-Muslim countries listed in Trump’s travel ban. Under Obama, the average monthly total from Somalia from October through January was 1,009; the monthly average dropped to 378 from February through April. The monthly average from Iran dropped from 409 to 166. From Sudan, the average declined from 114 a month to 86.
Refugees from Iraq — which was part of Trump’s original travel ban but not the revised order — tumbled 64 percent, declining from monthly average of 1,210 from October through January to 433 from February through April.