Refugee resettlement hit a record low last year, with the United States taking in fewer than half the amount permitted under a reduced refugee ceiling of 45,000.
by Griffin Paul Jackson, Christianity Today
While the number of displaced people and persecuted Christians continues to rise around the globe, US refugee figures have plunged under the current administration.
The 2018 totals – just 22,491 refugees in the fiscal year ending September 30 – indicate a disturbing trend for advocates, following recent news that the government plans to further restrict the resettlement cap by a third, to 30,000 next year.
Though most of the refugees welcomed over the past year are Christians, the overall drop means far fewer believers are finding refuge in the US than in prior years. In the 2018 fiscal year, 15,748 Christian refugees entered the country, a 36.4 percent decline from the previous year and a 55 percent decline from fiscal year 2016.
The reductions are even more dramatic among Christian refugees escaping persecution for their faith. Only 1,215 Christians were resettled from the 11 countries cited by Open Doors USA as the worst for Christians, down nearly 75 percent from the previous year.
Just 20 believers from Syria, 23 from Iran, and 26 from Iraq were give refuge in the United States in the past year, a huge drop from historic levels, despite ongoing risk and conflict in these areas. Many who were told they would be resettled are now stranded in third countries, disallowed from continuing to the US but unable to return to their homelands for fear of persecution.