President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily freezing travel and immigration from seven predominately Muslim countries has created an uproar. Critics have mislabeled it a “Muslim ban.” But even many who believe the U.S. needs tighter restrictions on immigrants from countries with a strong terror presence agree the order had a chaotic debut. Here’s a look at those seven countries subject to the freeze, including the number of recent immigrants from these countries, how many applicants were deemed inadmissible, and other information. Statistics are for 2014 and 2015, from the Department of Homeland Security’s Yearbook of Immigration Statistics. Countries are ranked by how many immigrants have entered the U.S. during that two-year period.
Libyans who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 1,258
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 421
Granted asylum status: 65
Allowed entry as refugees: N/A
Determined as inadmissible: 90
Bottom Line: Libyans fleeing their country, and other refugees fleeing through Libya, have become an international crisis. The Guardian.com estimated at least 360,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, most going from Libya to Italy. However, more than 5,000 refugees died trying to make the crossing.
Yemenis who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 6,686
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 2,444
Granted asylum status: 112
Allowed entry as refugees: 16*
Determined as inadmissible: 100
Bottom Line: In the first counterterrorism operation under President Trump’s administration, U.S. Special Forces launched a surprise dawn attack Jan. 29, reportedly killing 14 Qaeda fighters. A Navy SEAL was killed, and civilian casualties were reported. Yemen’s civil war has displaced some 2.4 million Yemenis, according to the UN. But fewer than 10 percent of those have fled the country, simply because it is so difficult to get out; one of the best options is to sail through pirate-infested waters off the coast.
* Some data withheld to limit disclosure
Sudanese who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 6,022
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 3,222
Granted asylum status: 191
Allowed entry as refugees: 2,893
Determined as inadmissible: 124
Bottom Line: This country has been a common site for terrorist training camps for many years. But it’s more than terrorism and civil war driving refugees out of Sudan; the country has also been stricken by drought and famine.
Syrians who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 7,380
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 3,836
Granted asylum status: 1,888
Allowed entry as refugees: 1,787
Determined as inadmissible: 567
Bottom Line: These figures for 2014-15 are particularly dated in the case of Syria, given President Barack Obama’s push to admit more Syrian refugees. More than 10,000 Syrian refugees entered the U.S. in the fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30. But after the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, Republican officials began to push back at the Obama Administration’s open-arms policy. Those Paris attacks were planned in Syria and carried out in part by Syrians who had entered Europe posing as refugees. According to the United Nations, 4.8 million Syrians have fled the country, and another 6.6 million have been displaced by the war. President Trump said on the campaign trail that letting so many Syrians into the country was like enabling a “Trojan horse.” His executive order indefinitely banned all immigration from Syria.
Somalis who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 11,986
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 7,788
Granted asylum status: 324
Allowed entry as refugees: 17,858
Determined as inadmissible: 1,213
Bottom Line: The al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab is an active threat in Somalia, launching attacks at the airport and government buildings, and kidnapping foreigners. Somali-born immigrants have resettled in substantial numbers in several U.S. cities, including Minneapolis-St. Paul, Columbus, Ohio, and Seattle. However, dozens of young Somalis have left the Twin Cities to venture back overseas to Africa or the Middle East to join terrorist organizations. Others have been apprehended en route, or prosecuted for sending money to these groups.
Iranians who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 24,729
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 19,964
Granted asylum status: 1,305
Allowed entry as refugees: 5,955
Determined as inadmissible: 1,502
Bottom Line: Iran is one of three countries currently recognized by the U.S. as a state sponsor of terrorism. Sudan and Syria are the other two. But obviously, many Iranians are struggling to escape the reign of terror in that country. Kooshyar Karimi, an Iranian doctor who managed to escape to Australia to start a new life, tells a compelling story of his struggles to escape the “Islamic killing machine” in the book, Journey of a Thousand Storms.
Iraqis who were:
Granted permanent resident status in the U.S.: 40,260
Naturalized as U.S. citizens: 27,276
Granted asylum status: 1,403
Allowed entry as refugees: 32,445
Determined as inadmissible: 671
Bottom Line: Millions of Iraqis have fled this country in the past 30 years. Yet despite the willingness of the U.S. to resettle tens of thousands of Iraqi refugees, it’s not surprising the birthplace of the Islamic State would land on an immigration-freeze list.