World Bulletin / News Desk
Muslim refugees constitute nearly half of all refugees admitted to the U.S. in 2016, a new study revealed Wednesday.
“A total of 38,901 Muslim refugees entered the U.S. in fiscal year 2016, making up almost half (46%) of the nearly 85,000 refugees who entered the country in that period,” according to the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan research organization.
Analyzing government data, the organization found that the U.S. admitted its highest number of Muslim refugees since 2002, when the State Department began to list religious affiliations of refugees.
By comparison, 37,521 Christian refugees were admitted in 2016, Pew said.
“A slightly lower share of 2016’s refugees were Christian (44%) than Muslim, the first time that has happened since fiscal 2006, when a large number of Somali refugees entered the U.S.,” according to the report.
With a total of 12,486 from Syria and 9,012 from Somalia, those countries topped the list of the countries from where Muslim refugees came.
Other countries include Iraq with 7,853 refugees, Myanmar with 3,145 and Afghanistan had 2,664. The remaining 3,741 are from other countries.
The admittance of the record number of Muslims refugees was achieved amid heated debates regarding refugee and migration issues, orchestrated by Republican presidential candidates, particularly Donald Trump.
Trump said he would temporarily stop immigration from countries, if elected, until his administration could figure out how to deal with extremism.
The U.S. uses a rigorous screening process for Muslim refugees that take place before they arrive in the country.
Those admitted are resettled by non-profit organizations linked to the Office of Refugee Resettlement under the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Obama administration early this year stated a goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted by the end of the 2016 fiscal year that expired Sept. 30. That figure, which was reached earlier this summer, was a floor not a ceiling, Obama said .
The administration plans to increase the total to 110,000 in 2017 fiscal year.