US Admitted 12K Syrian Refugees This Year


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Syrian refugees and migrants pass through Slovenia on Oct. 23, 2015

More than 12,500 refugees fleeing the four-year Syrian civil war resettled this year in the United States, which has responded with both welcome arms and a nationwide spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

Support for allowing Syrian refugees to resettle in America unsurprisingly been split along party lines, according to a recent poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Fifty six percent of Democrats approved of admitting Syrian refugees, as opposed to 18 percent of Republicans or 32 percent of independents. Fears that terrorists could be among those fleeing the war made the refugees a political target during the presidential campaign—and some experts suggest that rhetoric fueled a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims last year.

“We will suspend the Syrian refugee program,” President-elect Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Florida last month—taking the opposite stance of his losing Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who wanted to increase the number of Syrian refugees. “We will keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement said that Syrian refugees are subject to an intense vetting process that includes screenings by national security and intelligence agencies, in addition to standard health tests.

Thirty one US governors refused to accept Syrian refugees. Ten states accepted more than half of the 84,955 overall refugees, with California, Texas and New York ranking among the top three recipients. The top three states to accept Syrian refugees were California, Michigan and Texas.

Syrians made up 15 percent of the overall number of refugees admitted this year. They were the second-largest origin group to resettle in America after those from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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