The number of refugees taken in by the United States last year decreased more than in any other country, according to a new report.
According to Pew Research Center analysis of data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released Thursday, it is the first time America has resettled fewer refugees than the combined total of all other nations since the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act, which allows the president to set caps on the number admitted.
President Donald Trump in 2017 dropped the cap on refugee admissions to 45,000, the lowest level set by a U.S. president since 1980.
The United States has historically led the world in refugee resettlement, and has admitted three million of the more than four million refugees resettled worldwide since 1980, Pew reported.
Last year, the United States resettled 33,000 refugees, the country's lowest total since the years following 9/11 — and a deep drop from 2016, when the Obama administration allowed the resettlement of about 97,000, Pew reported.
Other countries resettled more than twice as many refugees – 69,000 – even though refugee resettlement in those nations was also down from 92,000 in 2016.
Previously, the closest the rest of the world had come to surpassing the United States on this measure was 2003, when America resettled about 28,000 refugees and the rest of the world resettled about 27,000, Pew reported.
According to The Hill, Trump had previously lowered the refugee cap to 50,000 in his executive order barring travelers from some Muslim-majority countries. The first version of that travel ban also temporarily halted refugee resettlements.
The administration lifted the halt on the refugee program in January, as it vowed higher scrutiny of refugees, The New York Times reported at the time.
"These additional security measures will make it harder for bad actors to exploit our refugee program, and they will ensure we take a more risk-based approach to protecting the homeland," Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement in January.
The administration's moves on refugees have alarmed human rights groups.
Ken Isaacs, Trump's pick to lead the top United Nations agency for migration, lost his bid late last month because of U.S. policies like travel bans and migrant family separations — and his own comments that critics have called anti-Muslim, the Associated Press reported.
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