Residents of Ravalli County in western Montana protest against plans to bring Syrian refugees to their state last Thursday. Photo/The Missoulian

Residents of Ravalli County in western Montana protest against plans to bring Syrian refugees to their state late last year. (Photo: The Missoulian)

Refugee resettlement is cranking back up under President Trump as 836 refugees have entered the United States in the six days since March 30.

WND reported last week that the Trump administration would more than double the influx of refugee arrivals, from 400 to 900 a week, and that appears to be exactly what has happened.

Of the 836 total over the past six days, the two largest groups have come from Syria and Somalia. From Syria, 163 have entered the U.S., all of them Muslim, while from Somalia 107 refugees have entered, all Muslim as well, according to data recorded by the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.

Since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 1,317 Syrian refugees have entered the U.S. and 1,299, or 98.5 percent, have been Muslim. Only 15 have been Christian and three Yazidi. Another 1,182 refugees have come from Somali since Trump took office, all of them Muslim.

The top five states for receiving Syrian refugees since Trump took office are as follows:

  • California: 135
  • Michigan: 127
  • Illinois: 96
  • Texas: 92
  • Arizona: 88

Second-tier states also receiving large numbers of Syrians under Trump’s watch are:

  • New York: 79
  • North Carolina: 77
  • Ohio: 66
  • Florida: 65
  • New Jersey: 53

Refugee resettlement, and especially Syrian refugees, has caused controversy and division in city after city since the attacks on Paris and Brussels by Islamic terrorists in 2015 and 2016. Some of the terrorists came to Europe claiming to be Syrian refugees.

The Obama administration ramped up refugee arrivals from Syria from a few hundred in the first two years of the country’s civil war to more than 17,000 in the last two years.

A steady stream of Somali refugees has been arriving weekly in the U.S. since the 1990s, averaging about 8,000 per year. More than 132,000 Somalis have now been permanently resettled in the U.S.

Legality of executive orders headed to Supreme Court

Trump ran on a promise to pause refugee resettlement until “extreme vetting” could be implemented. He issued two executive orders, one on Jan. 27 and the second, revised order, on March 6.

Among the ideas for extreme vetting leaked to the Wall Street Journal include requiring all immigrants to have their phones and social media accounts examined.

Both orders were struck down by federal district courts in Washington and Hawaii, and those rulings were upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The only hope for them to be reversed now lies with the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Critics argued that Trump could have avoided the courts by not including the 120-day refugee pause in his executive order along with the 90-day ban on visa travelers. He could have merely sent a memo to the State Department and Congress notifying them that he was lowering the annual ceiling on refugee admissions.

Under the Refugee Act of 1980 the authority to set the annual ceiling lies squarely with the president.

But by inserting the lower ceiling of 50,000, down from 110,000 set by Obama for fiscal 2017, into an executive order he allowed the courts to strike it down. After that happened, the State Department said it would resume refugee admissions at a level of 900 per week, which would work out to about 62,500 for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

That’s right around the 63,000 average annual refugee admission totals since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nervousness on the right

Some immigration hawks are getting nervous.

“The left is still force-feeding the false message that Trump is banning refugees because they’re making money off this, they’re creating controversy, stirring up their base and raising a lot of money, but in fact he is not banning refugees,” said Ann Corcoran, author of the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog.

“So if Trump caves into the left, he doesn’t get any brownie points with them. They’re not going to like him anymore, they’re just going to gin up their base and go out and protest because he’s ‘banning refugees’ when in fact he isn’t banning refugees at all,” Corcoran added.

The United Nations is still hand-selecting refugees for distribution into more than 300 U.S. cities and towns. It currently has about 10,000 refugees in the pipeline destined for the U.S. The Trump administration is also honoring an agreement negotiated by the Obama administration to take at least 1,300 refugees from Afghanistan and other Muslim nations off the hands of Australia.

“The State Department and its contractors are still bringing them in, and he could have done a 120-day moratorium without announcing it to anybody,” Corcoran said. “Internally, just stop it for four months with exceptions for extraordinary cases, so there’s no analysis of the extreme vetting because they’re still coming and they’re coming without extreme vetting.

“I’m very frustrated.”

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