All 529 Syrian refugees admitted to the US this month identified themselves as Muslim. More refugees have been received this May than any other month this fiscal year.
The Obama administration pledged last September to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 Fiscal Year. Since October 1, 2015, 2,265 refugees have been placed in the US. The State Department Refugee Processing Center (RPC) reported that out of these refugees only 21, or less than one percent, were non-Muslims.
The Obama administration has been criticized by both sides for its actions towards the refugee crisis. Officials opposing the admittance of refugees have voiced concerns that terrorists may use the crisis to gain entrance to the US. The low number of Christians has also been a point of contention. According to an article by The Hill, opponents of the refugees’ entry believe the process might filter out Christians.
The United Nations’ High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) stated in December that Republicans’ comments on the disproportionate number of Christian refugees are misinformed. The US is not the only country receiving unexpectedly low numbers of Christian refugees. Jana Mason, senior adviser for government relation and external affairs at the UNHCR, said that out of the 2 million registered Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Egypt, only 1.2 percent were Christian. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, 87 percent of all Syrians are Muslim, and 10 percent are Christian.
Activist group Human Rights First published a report in April highlighting that despite the recent increase in US resettlement efforts, meeting the goal of 10,000 would require the US to admit over 1,400 refugees each month from April to September this year. However, only 451 refugees were processed last month. The group criticized the administration for not promising to admit more.
Halfway through the fiscal year in March, the US had only received 1,285 refugees. Since then the percentage of Christian migrants continued to decline as the number of immigrants increased.
Of the refugees who arrived this month, 525 identified themselves as Sunni Muslims, while the remaining four simply described themselves as Muslims.