There have been many protests launched against President Trump’s Executive Order slowing the number of refugees coming to the United States from particular war-torn countries. People have debated about whether the EO was specifically targeting Muslims as each of the seven countries on the list were Muslim-majority countries. Democratic politicians have called out Trump as being “backward and nasty.”
Here are statistics about refugees coming to America from war-torn countries since 2002 – covering the George W Bush and Barack Obama presidencies. Periods which had NO protests about refugees.
First a review of the countries not impacted by Trump’s EO.
The United States has been battling in Afghanistan since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Thousands of people have been killed and many more injured and displaced as the USA fought to eliminate al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
From 2002 through 2016, the US allowed 14,072 refugees into the USA. The annual average under Bush was 966 people per year, slightly higher than the 913 average under Obama.
There were no protests that not enough people fleeing the war were let into America.
Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon
Boko Haram launched numerous attacks in the Lake Chad Basin for several years. The United States has responded with… allowing almost no refugees into the US.
From 2002 through 2016, the USA permitted a total of 557 refugees from the three countries confronting terrorism combined. President Bush allowed an annual average of 49 refugees, about twice the annual average of 27 under Obama. The large difference was mostly due to the discrepancy in how each administration treated Nigeria, with Obama only allowing an average of 3 people per year, compared to 34 by the Bush administration.
Ethiopia and Kenya
While the majority of the attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab occurred in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya have also suffered attacks.
Between 2002 and 2016, the USA admitted 14,890 refugees from the two countries, almost all of them from Ethiopia. The Bush administration welcomed an annual average of 1,292 per year, 77% more than the 731 annual average under Obama.
People have questioned why Saudi Arabia – home to 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists – was not on Trump’s refugee order. In truth, the US barely admits any refugees from the country – a total of 7 people since 2002.
In summary, for seven countries that have been involved in terrorism, the US barely admitted any refugees over the past 15 years. The Obama administration let in many fewer refugees than the Bush administration, even though the terrorism was much more prevalent in the countries over the past eight years than during the Bush years.
And no Americans protested.
So let’s consider the countries in Trump’s Executive Order.
Obama overthrew the Libyan government and then watched as jihadists took over the country; a real moment to celebrate. Not surprisingly, there were no refugees from Libya under Bush (since there was no war or mayhem). However, Obama barely allowed any refugees from the country he actively dismantled – a grand total of 12 people over his eight-year presidency.
Yemen has been in on-and-off again civil war for decades. In recent years, the situation deteriorated as the government fell while Iran and Saudi Arabia engaged in a proxy war to control one of the poorest countries in the world. The US sided with its ally Saudi Arabia in the war, and involved with killing many civilians.
Even while thousands died, the Obama administration only admitted 123 Yemeni refugees over his entire tenure. Bush admitted just 25.
Sudan has suffered from both ongoing civil war and terrorism for a long time and the USA has been more forth-coming granting refugees asylum – a total of 21,180 people since 2002. President Bush welcomed an annual average of 1,678, about 42% more than the 1,179 granted by Obama.
Iran has had a repressive government since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. It remains one of the leading countries that executes gays and one of the only countries that executes minors.
The US has consistently granted asylum to over one thousand refugees from Iran every year. Since 2002, 45,791 refugees have come to America, with an annual average of roughly 3000 per year under both Bush and Obama.
Somalia has been a mess for 30 years, undergoing a variety of civil wars. The unrest was so bad that in 2006, that Ethiopia sent troops in 2006 to help repel the advance of the Islamic Courts Union, which soon splintered into the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Mayhem continues to this day.
The US allowed entry to 100,930 refugees from Somalia from 2002 to 2016; a great number of whom have settled in Minnesota. Both Presidents Bush and Obama allowed roughly 6700 Somalis to enter each year.
The United States entered Iraq shortly after the attacks of 9/11 and overthrew the government. While the long war under Bush finally helped settle the country, the rapid withdrawal under Obama and the decision to not leave any US troops behind led to chaos and the emergence of ISIS.
Over 140,000 refugees have come to the US from Iraq since 2002. The majority have come under the watch of Obama, with over 15,000 coming annually, compared to an average of 2800 under Bush.
Syria has been in a civil war since March 2011, in a war that has killed roughly half a million people.
Before the war began, there were few people fleeing the country, and President Bush admitted about 14 people per year. From 2009 through 2013, the number of refugees welcomed to America barely changed, but gradually increased towards the end of Obama’s presidency, with 249, 2192 and 15,479 coming in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Aside from the spike of Syrian refugees in 2016, Obama did less for refugees – over a much more tumultuous period – than Bush.
The number of refugees admitted under Bush and Obama were roughly the same, even though the situation for people in the Middle East was much worse since the “Arab Spring” began in early 2011. Further, the terrorist threats from groups like ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and others grew dramatically during the Obama years. In a time of greater instability and violence, Obama barely acted in providing sanctuary.
But there were no protests in the streets of America to let in more refugees.
Even as millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn countries overwhelmed Europe, Obama did not increase the numbers entering the US until the final two years of his second term- and only for Syria.
Why the lack of protests in the streets of the USA?
Presumably it was because American liberals loved Obama and trusted his liberal instincts. They assumed that he was doing whatever he could – even though it was clear that Europe was doing much, much more than the US in protecting refugees.
Conversely, liberal protesters assume the very worst of President Trump. They have listened to his campaign promises about banning Muslims and concluded that his executive order was really a step to ban all Muslims from entering the US. They have channeled their hatred today in regards to refugees. Yesterday it was for abortion rights. Tomorrow it may be about bank reform.
In other words, the protestors hate Trump much more than they care about refugees. Their protests are masked as concern for the weak and disenfranchised, as it lends a smug self-righteousness to conceal their ugly anger.
It is emotional, not fact-based.
So why review the facts above? Why combat or discuss #AlternativeFacts or #FakeNews? Americans stopped paying attention to facts long ago and have relied on screaming and sharing their emotions.
It is our new reality, the lack of reality. As conveyed in “Eyes Wide Shut,”
“In a world where facts are extraneous, we are only left with a clash of emotions.”
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