Trump administration sees Christian refugees surpassing Muslims –Pew analysis

The Trump administration's first few months has seen more Christian refugees entering the United States compared to their Muslim counterparts, the Pew Research Center has found after analyzing U.S. State Department refugee data.

(REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed)Syrian refugee children play as they wait with their families to register their information at the U.S. processing centre for Syrian refugees, during a media tour held by the U.S. Embassy in Jordan, in Amman, Jordan, April 6, 2016.

In contrast to the trend currently observed under the administration of President Donald Trump, more Muslims than Christians were admitted to America during the last fiscal year of former President Barack Obama's term. From Jan. 21 to June 30, the U.S. welcomed 9,598 Christian refugees and 7,250 Muslim refugees, Pew detailed.

During the first months of the Trump administration, 50 percent of all refugee arrivals was made up of Christians while 38 percent were Muslim. Refugees from other faiths comprised 11 percent of the arrivals, and the remaining 1 percent was not affiliated with any religion, based on the U.S. State Department's refugee data.

Moreover, Pew observed that Christians made up 41 percent of the 4,580 refugee arrivals in February but that figure increased to 57 percent by June. Muslim composition, on the other hand, dropped from 50 percent in February to 31 percent in June.

Pew noted that Christian refugees also outnumbered Muslims from 2002 to 2016 except in 2005, 2006, and 2016. The number of Muslim refugees admitted to the U.S. hit record high in fiscal 2016 at 46 percent, while Christians hit 44 percent.

Earlier this year, Trump spoke exclusively to The Brody File and promised to prioritize Christians applying for asylum in the U.S. He claimed that it was more difficult for Christian refugees to enter the U.S. compared to Muslims.

"We are going to help them. They've been horribly treated. Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria it was impossible, at least very tough to get into the United States?" Trump told The Brody File. "If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair."

Meanwhile, Pew has not pinpointed the exact reason for the shift in religious composition of refugees starting February. The research center, however, noted that Trump's revised refugee ban did not stipulate any religious preference. Plus, Pew pointed out that application for the Refugee Resettlement Program takes 18 to 24 months, and the religious composition of these applicants has not been considered in the analysis.