During his campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump promised to ban all Muslims outright until he could figure out “what is going on.”, while he later explained that this idea had developed into several policies that would have the same effect, Newsweek writes, citing an article published on the Cato Institute site.
Since his inauguration, Trump has begun to implement them—they include slashing the refugee program, banning all immigration and travelers from several majority Muslim countries, and imposing new burdens on all visa applicants as part of “extreme vetting” initiatives. So far, these policies appear to have “worked,” strongly reducing Muslim immigration and travel to the United States, Newsweek notes.
Muslim refugee admissions have fallen dramatically over the past year. According to figures from the State Department, Muslim refugee flows fell 94 percent from January to November 2017 (the last full month of available data).
In calendar 2016, the United States admitted almost 45,000 Muslim refugees, compared to a little more than 11,000 in 2017 – fully half of those entered in January and February.
Of course, the administration has cut refugee flows generally, but the Muslim share of all refugees has dropped substantially too – from 50 percent in January to less than 10 percent in November.
This year’s drop is even more substantial when compared with the trend. In only one year over the last decade has the number of Muslim refugee admissions fallen, and Muslim admissions have increased on average 18 percent annually from 2007 to 2016, Newsweek adds.
Based on the number of visas issued to nationals of the nearly 50 majority Muslim countries, it certainly appears that the Trump administration policies have affected them as well. America issues two types of visas – “immigrant” for permanent residents and “nonimmigrant” for temporary residents – mainly tourists, guest workers, and students.
For Muslim majority countries, the average monthly permanent visa issuances during the period of March to October 2017 (the only months that are available so far) dropped 13 percent from the monthly average in FY 2016. Average monthly visa issuances for temporary residents – tourists, guest workers, and students – from majority Muslim countries have dropped 21 percent from the FY 2016 monthly average, Newsweek writes.
According to the article, Immigration and travel from all countries has also declined this year, but the declines for Muslim majority countries were larger. They saw their share of all immigrant visa issuances fall 3 percent and their share of temporary visa approvals by 15 percent.
The visa declines disproportionately affected certain countries, and in particular, they impacted the eight majority Muslim countries that Trump has singled out in his three travel ban executive orders – Chad, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
All eight countries received fewer visa approvals, and collectively, their monthly average immigrant visa issuances fell a collective 36 percent, while temporary visas fell 42 percent. These declines occurred despite court orders that barred full implementation of the ban until this month, Newsweek notes.