How Trump succeeded in keeping refugees out of the US even though his travel bans failed

How Trump succeeded in keeping refugees out of the US even though his travel bans failed
Source: AP
Source: AP

President Donald Trump apparently doesn't need travel bans to keep foreign refugees out of the United States. 

The fearful tone he set during his 2016 campaign has had a reverberating effect on resettlement nationwide as some states have upped their efforts to keep refugees out.

Under the Obama administration during the fiscal year of 2016, the U.S. admitted nearly 85,000 refugees, the most of any year during Barack Obama's time in office, according to the Pew Research Institute.

That number appears to be on the decline.

State Department data recently reported by USA Today shows 2,070 refugees were accepted into the U.S. in March, which is the lowest monthly total since 2013.

Think Progress reported in April that 139 federal lawmakers have declared their support for Trump's failed travel bans.

The Associated Press reports that more than a dozen states have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program, at a time when the number of people displaced by wars and persecution is at an all-time high.

That list of states also includes Tennessee, which sued the federal government in March on 10th Amendment constitutional grounds, arguing the feds are unduly forcing states to pay for the refugee resettlement program, which Tennessee lawmakers claim violates the Refugee Act of 1980, according to the Tennesseean.

Somali refugees like 20-year-old Sahah Salem (middle) and her mother (right) are being forced to wait to see if their loved ones can join them in the U.S. amid uncertainty created by the Trump administration's proposed travel bans. Columbus has the nation's largest percentage of Somali refugees.
Source: John Minchillo/AP
Resettlement agencies and charities are struggling

Before it was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, the executive order president Trump signed in January to protect the nation from "foreign terrorist entry" temporarily forced the State Department to limit the number of refugees it processed to meet the order's 50,000 refugee fiscal year cap, according to the Associated Press.

As a result, refugee resettlement charities are reportedly losing money they typically receive in accordance with the number of refugees they process.

St. Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing, Michigan, helped find new homes for an average of 75 displaced individuals per month in 2016, according to the Lansing State Journal. That number recently dropped dramatically, with only 30 total refugees placed in March and April combined.

St. Vincent refugee services director Judi Harris, told reporters refugees are waiting to see what happens with Trump's latest travel ban executive order, which was blocked by a federal court in March, but is being appealed in federal court.

In the meantime, St. Vincent is receiving less in relief funds due to its decreased refugee numbers, according to Harris.

In Ohio, refugee numbers have fluctuated dramatically before, during, and after Trump's failed travel bans, according to the Columbus Dispatch, which found overall resettlement in the state's capital city had risen in April despite an overall anticipated drop for the fiscal year.


Somali refugee Abdisellam Hassen Ahmed meets his 2-year-old daughter, Taslim, for the first time at Salt Lake City International Airport on Feb. 10 2017 after waiting in limbo abroad due to President Trump's failed travel ban. Salt Lake City passed a welcoming city resolution in 2012.
Source: Rick Bowmer/AP
Some cities are fighting back

In spite of the controversy surrounding immigrants and foreign refugees, Fox News and the Idaho Press-Tribune report more than 90 U.S. cities have passed "welcoming city" resolutions, according to Welcome America, a non-profit that advocates for more diverse communities.

Twin Falls, Idaho on Monday became one of the latest localities to pass a welcome resolution declaring their commitment to welcoming immigrants amid ongoing controversy partly fueled by various right-wing media outlets and locals upset about possible sanctuary cities in Idaho and across the nation.

The list of welcoming cities also includes Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles, Denver and Boise, Idaho, home to one of the state's two refugee resettlement centers.