President Donald Trump has faced some criticism for ordering the US military to fire missiles at a Syrian military air base in retaliation for a chemical attack that killed scores of civilians.
Shortly after the strikes were announced Thursday night, US Representative Seth Moulton wrote on Twitter that the move appeared inconsistent with the Trump’s efforts to prevent refugees from Syria and other countries from seeking safe haven in the US.
So @POTUS cares enough about the Syrian people to launch 50 Tomahawks but not enough to let the victims of Assad find refuge & freedom here.— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) April 7, 2017
Indeed, the pace of Syrian refugees arriving in the United States since Trump became president has slowed dramatically.
Trump has tried to roll out restrictions on travel to the US that included stopping, at least temporarily, the inflow of Syrian refugees. But federal judges blocked the first set of restrictions, prompting Trump to roll out a revised set of rules, which has also been blocked by judges, so far.
Since Trump’s inauguration, the inflow of Syrian refugees has been, on average, about half of what it was in the weeks leading up to the start of his presidency, according to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.
From Inauguration Day through Thursday — a 77-day span — 1,347 Syrian refugees came to the United States, or about 18 per day.
From the announcement of Trump’s first travel ban through Thursday — a 70-day stretch — 1,051 Syrian refugees came to the United States, or about 15 per day.
By comparison, in the 77 days leading up to Inauguration Day, 2,823 Syrian refugees, or about 37 per day, came. The rate was virtually identical in the 70 days before the inauguration, when 2,571 Syrian refugees entered the US.
Still, under both the current and previous administrations, the United States has opened its doors to only a small number of Syrian refugees compared to those from other countries.
Since 2011, when the conflict in Syria began, a total of 20,470 Syrian refugees — the vast majority have been children and women — had come to the United States as of Thursday.
And more than three-quarters of that total came just last year, after President Obama ordered the United States to start accepting more from that nation.
Obama’s goal was to settle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in a one-year span. Even that pace, while a marked increase for the US, pales in comparison to how other countries have taken in Syrian refugees.
Since the Syrian conflict began: Turkey has taken in almost 3 million; Lebanon, more than 1 million; Jordan, more than 650,000; Germany, more than 450,000; Iraq, more than 235,000; Egypt, more than 120,000; Sweden, nearly 110,000; and Hungary, more than 75,000, according to figures tracked by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Overall, the UN estimates there are about 13.5 million Syrians are in need of humanitarian aid.Matt Rocheleau can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrochele