More Christian refugees have arrived in the U.S. in the first five months of the Trump administration, reversing a trend that saw Muslims entering the country at higher numbers under President Obama, according to a new Pew Research report. Christians now make up more than half of refugee arrivals.
In the first five full months of President Donald Trump's administration, from his inauguration on Jan. 21 up to June 30, Christians made up the majority of refugees (9,598) admitted to the U.S. at 50 percent. while 38 percent were Muslims with 7,250. Another 11 percent belong to other religions while only one percent claim no religious affiliation.
The religious composition of refugees has been shifting on a monthly basis as well. As the number of Christian refugees rose from 41 percent in February to 57 percent in June, the percentage of Muslim migrants decreased on a monthly basis, falling steadily from 50 percent (4,580) to 31 percent in the same period.
The trend is in contrast to the last fiscal year which saw a record number of admitted Muslims refugees at 38,901 representing 46 percent compared to 44 percent of Christians. But looking further back as early as 2002, there were only three years when Muslim refugees outnumbered Christians. These years are 2005, 2006 and 2016.
The reversing trend was noted after "the religious affiliation of refugees has come under scrutiny" in the wake of Trump's executive orders which restrict travel to the U.S. from seven (later revised to six) Muslim-majority countries. However, experts say the travel ban can't be the only reason for the shift as many of the refugees have already applied for resettlement during the previous administration.
Most refugees worldwide come from Muslim-majority countries, according to UNHCR. Syria, which is 90 percent Muslim, accounts for 32 percent of the world's total refugee population. This is followed by Somalia and Afghanistan. As of June 30, the U.S. has admitted a total of 49,255 refugees for 2017.