According to a new study out from Pew Research, the number of Christian refugees admitted by the United States in the first five months of the Trump administration vastly outnumbered those who self-identify as Muslims by nearly 2 to 1, marking a sharp reverse-course from the previous Obama administration, which admitted larger numbers of Muslims under the sanctuary program.
More Christian than Muslim refugees have been admitted to the United States in the first months of the Trump administration, reversing a trend that had seen Muslims outnumber Christians in the final fiscal year under President Barack Obama, a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department refugee data has found.
In analyzing the newest data, Pew found that 57 percent of refugees admitted to the United States in June self-identified as Christian. That’s a marked difference from February, when only 41 percent of all incoming refugees said the same.
As the percentage of Christian refugees has risen, the percentage of Muslim refugees has decreased, falling steadily from 50 percent of all refugees in February to just 31 percent in June. Pew added:
This stands in contrast to fiscal 2016, when a record number of Muslim refugees entered the U.S. and Muslims made up a higher share of admitted refugees than Christians (46% vs. 44%, respectively).
Pew noted that the number of Christian refugees admitted to the United States have traditionally outnumbered those of other faiths, including Muslims. But policies employed by the Obama administration, including the former president’s attempt to raise the cap on refugees admitted from the war-torn, Islamic nation of Syria, brought along an increase in refugees who self-identified as Muslim and began to heavily tip the scales.
While the Christian-Muslim ratio has definitely made an about-face recently, this latest trend wasn’t necessarily caused by anything Trump has done, Pew added, noting that nothing in the 45th president’s recent refugee policies singles out refugee applicants by religion.
It’s not clear why the religious composition of refugees to the U.S. has changed since February. Trump’s revised executive order states no religious preference for refugee admissions. Also, it’s not yet known whether the religious composition of refugee applicants (not arrivals) has shifted during the Trump administration, since it is likely that many refugees admitted from February through June actually applied to the Refugee Resettlement Program before Trump took office (the refugee application process typically takes between 18 and 24 months to complete).
The polling agency did report, however, that of the top 10 countries of origin for U.S. refugees admitted under Trump, only three – Iraq, Syria and Somalia – are majority-Muslim countries.