Muslims Top U.S. Refugee List, Christians Not Far Behind

By Published on August 16, 2016

The U.S. has received 28,957 Muslim refugees so far in 2016, the single highest influx since 2002, according to an analysis by Pew Research Center.

Muslim refugees make up about half of the total refugee population, 46 percent, that has entered the country in 2016. Christians make up the second-largest group with 27,556 so far. It is the first time since 2006 that the U.S. has accepted more Muslims than Christians.

Two countries — Syria and Somalia — make up more than half of the Muslim influx, with 8,511 and 7,234 entrances, respectively. Other common countries include Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan.

Refugees seeking resettlement in the U.S. have to apply overseas and go through a vetting and interview process before getting admitted.

Eighty percent of Syrian asylum applicants have been accepted by the U.S. since 2011. Just 7 percent have been denied and 13 percent are placed on hold, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration figures.

U.S. President Barack Obama set a goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees earlier in 2016. The number looks to exceed 14,5000 at the current pace.

“Our goal is to continue to try to make the case to Congress and the American people (that) this is the right thing to do and we believe that we can hit those marks before the end of the year,” Obama said at a press conference in April.


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