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Current Page: Politics | Monday, January 30, 2017
Trump vs. Obama Refugee Ban: 9 Things You Need to Know

Trump vs. Obama Refugee Ban: 9 Things You Need to Know

8. Under Obama, few Syrian Christian refugees were resettled.

U.S. President Barack Obama listens as he participates in his last news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Although the Obama administration resettled over 12,000 Syrian refugees in fiscal year 2017, very few of them were actually persecuted Christians.

Christians comprise about 10 percent of the Syrian population, according to CIA World Factbook. However, Syrian Christians comprised less than 1 percent of the 12,600 Syrian refugees resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2016, while 99 percent of them were Muslim.

A major reason why so few Syrian Christians were resettled in the U.S. in fiscal year 2016 was due to the fact that the U.S. relies too heavily on the U.N. for refugee referrals.

As Christian religious freedom advocates have frequently pointed out, Christian refugees tend to stay away from U.N. displacement camps and don't register with the U.N. refugee agency due to fear that they will be persecuted by displaced Muslims in the camp.

Although so few Syrian Christians were resettled to the U.S. in the last year, Soerens explained that about 25 to 35 percent of the refugees resettled from Iraq tend to be Christian refugees.

In total, Pew research finds that the U.S. admitted a record number of Muslim refugees in fiscal year 2016, with nearly 39,000 Muslims having been resettled. Despite the large disparity in the number of Syrian Christian and Syrian Muslim refugees resettled, there were over 37,521 total Christian refugees resettled into the U.S. in 2016.

"The [Trump] rhetoric has been that we are going to help persecuted Christians now," Soerens said. "My response to that would be that it is just inaccurate to say that this order is going to help persecuted Christians."

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