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Record number of Muslim refugees entered US in 2016: report

Washington: Nearly 39,000 Muslim refugees entered the US in 2016 – the highest number on record – making up about half of the new arrivals in the country, according to a new report made public amidst the controversy triggered by President Donald Trump.

The report comes shortly after Trump signed an order imposing an indefinite travel ban on Syrian refugees and a temporary curb on people from six other countries – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia – from entering the US for at least 90 days.

“The US admitted 84,995 refugees in the fiscal year ending in September 2016, the most in any year during the Obama administration,” said Pew Research Centre analysts Jens Manuel Krogstad and Jynnah Radford.

An additional 31,143 refugees have been admitted to the US from October 1 through January 24, including more than 1,136 refugee admissions since Trump became president on January 20,” researchers said, based on statistics from the US State Departments Refugee Processing Centre.

“Nearly 39,000 Muslim refugees entered the US in fiscal 2016, the highest number on record,” they said.

“Muslims made up nearly half (46 per cent) of refugee admissions, a higher share than for Christians, who accounted for 44 per cent of refugees admitted,” researchers were quoted as saying by The Washington Times.

“The US public has seldom approved of accepting large numbers of refugees. In October 2016, 54 per cent of registered voters said the US does not have a responsibility to accept refugees from Syria, while 41 per cent said it does,” according to the report.

“US public opinion polls from previous decades show Americans have largely opposed admitting large numbers of refugees from countries where people are fleeing war and oppression,” the report said.

The highest number of refugees came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (16,370) followed by Syria (12,587), Burma (12,347), Iraq (9,880) and Somalia (9,020).