In a clear shift from the President Barack Obama administration during which arriving Muslim refugees outnumbered Christian refugees, more Christian than Muslim refugees have been admitted to the United States under President Donald Trump, according to the Pew Research Center.
The Pew analysis, based on data from the Department of State to compare the first few months of the Trump administration to the last year of the Obama administration, reveals that 9,598 Christians emigrated to the country from Jan. 21 to June 30, compared to 7,250 Muslim refugees.
The religious composition of refugees to the U.S. has been shifting on a monthly basis as well, Pew notes.
In February, Trump's first full month in office, Muslims accounted for 50 percent of the 4,580 refugees who entered the country, and Christians made up 41 percent of arrivals. By June, Christians made up 57 percent of arrivals, while Muslims accounted for 31 percent.
During the fiscal year 2016, a record number of Muslim refugees entered the U.S. and Muslims made up 46 percent of admitted refugees and Christians made up 44 percent.
On Jan. 27, Trump issued an executive order to restrict people traveling into the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also temporarily halted the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, and put a new, lower cap on refugee admissions at 50,000 people annually. However, Trump's revised executive order states no religious preference for refugee admissions.
"It's not clear why the religious composition of refugees to the U.S. has changed since February," Pew notes. "Also, it's not yet known whether the religious composition of refugee applicants (not arrivals) has shifted during the Trump administration, since it is likely that many refugees admitted from February through June actually applied to the Refugee Resettlement Program before Trump took office (the refugee application process typically takes between 18 and 24 months to complete)."
Earlier this week, the State Department said the U.S. refugee program has surpassed the 50,000-person cap, which will now bar many refugees from entering the country.
"Beginning July 13, only those individuals who have a credible claim to a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States will be eligible for admission through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program," a State Department spokesperson said.
About 85,000 refugees arrived in the United States in the 2016 fiscal year under President Obama.
Two-thirds of all refugees who entered America last year came as religious majorities in their home country. The top 10 nations where the vast majority of refugees came from were: the Democratic Republic of Congo (19 percent), Syria (15), Burma (15), Iraq (12), Somalia (11), Bhutan (7), Iran (4), Afghanistan (3), Ukraine (3) and Eritrea (2).
Christians are a religious majority in three of the 10 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo.