Syrian refugees to U.S. doubled in June, 0.3% of them are Christian

In this Saturday, June 25, 2016 photo, Syrian refugees carry water bottles at the Ruqban border camp in northeast Jordan. Syrian refugees and international aid officials say little water and no food has reached 64,000 Syrian refugees stranded in the desert since Jordan sealed its border last week in response to a suicide attack. (AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

The number of Syrian refugees admitted into the United States reached a new peak this past June and doubled the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. in May, according to CNSNews.

In June, 2,381 Syrian refugees were allowed to resettle, the overwhelming majority being Sunni Muslims. According to State Department Refugee Processing Center data, eight (0.3 percent) of the refugees are Christians, 2,364 (99.2 percent) are Sunni Muslims, eight are other Muslims, and one refugee gave no religious affiliation.

In May, 1,069 Syrian refugees were admitted to the United States. Of those 1,069 refugees, two were Christians and 1,060 were Sunnis. The other seven were other Muslims.

The demographics of the Syrian refugees entering the United States in May and June are consistent with the demographics the United States has seen this year. Of the 5,186 refugees admitted to date in FY 2016, 20 refugees (0.38 percent) are Christians, 10 (0.19 percent) are members of the Yazidi minority, and 17 (0.32 percent) are Shi’a. Sunnis make up the vast majority of the refugees admitted to date – 5,099 (98.3 percent) of the 5,186.

This trend of very few Christian Syrian refugees entering the U.S. is consistent with what we’ve seen over the course of the Civil War in Syria, which began in early 2011. Since then, the U.S. has admitted a total of 7,059 Syrian refugees, 6,818 (96.5 percent) refugees are Sunnis and 68 (0.96 percent) refugees are Christians.

The proportion of Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. in FY 2016 who are Christians is much smaller than the percentage of Syrians who were Christian before the Syrian Civil War began. Approximately 10 percent of pre-war Syrians were Christian.

Refugee advocacy groups say that the low number of Christian Syrian refugees entering the U.S. is a result of many refugees entering U.N. camps in surrounding countries in fear of their safety. The U.N. refugee agency confirmed this belief. Because the U.N. refers applicants at the beginning of the process of seeking refugee status in the U.S., this may mean fewer Christians are referred.

With the spike in the number of Syrian refugees that were admitted between May and June, it now appears that President Obama’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States during fiscal year 2016 will be achieved.


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