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Allison Graves
By Allison Graves February 12, 2017

Donald Trump says refugee admissions surged from 7 countries during suspension of executive order

President Donald Trump said refugees from dangerous locations have flooded the United States ever since a federal judge halted his executive order.

"72% of refugees admitted into U.S. (2/3 -2/11) during COURT BREAKDOWN are from 7 countries: SYRIA, IRAQ, SOMALIA, IRAN, SUDAN, LIBYA & YEMEN," Trump said on Twitter Feb. 12.

Trump has a point that almost three-quarters of refugees entering the United States in that period are from countries targeted in his immigration ban.

This might be explained by the turbulent situations that drive refugees from their homes and the on-again, off-again travel ban placed on refugees. It's also important to remember the pool of refugees we're talking about is about 1,400 people.

Trump’s data comes from information maintained by the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center. The center has an interactive tool that allows the data on admissions to be sifted by country and date.

From Feb. 3 to Feb. 11, the percentage of refugees arriving from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was about 72 percent or 1,049 out of 1,462. (Judge James L. Robart of Federal District Court in Seattle blocked the order on Feb. 3, a decision upheld on appeal.)

Here’s a breakdown of arrivals by country:  


The majority of refugee admissions were from Syria and Iraq, followed by Somalia and Iran and then 37 Sudanese refugees. No refugees were recorded from Libya and Yemen.

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The makeup of refugees entering the United States looked a little different after Trump’s first day as president Jan. 20. Basically, there were more refugees arriving from other countries.

In the week before his Jan. 27 order, the United States processed 2,108 refugees. The percentage of refugees from the seven countries in the order was lower, but 44 percent (as opposed to 72 percent) were were from those seven countries. 

The number of refugees entering the United States from the seven countries targeted in the order has steadily increased since Feb. 3, while the refugee arrivals from countries not affected by the order has fallen, according to data from the Refugee Processing Center.

On Feb. 11, Trump tweeted "Our legal system is broken!" and cited a report in the Washington Times showing that 77 percent of the refugees who entered the United States since had been from the seven "suspect countries."

Our ruling

Trump said that 72 percent of the refugees admitted into United States between Feb. 3 and Feb. 11 were from seven countries his executive order targets.

According to the Refugee Processing Center, of the 1,462 refugees entering the United States between that time frame, roughly 72 percent were from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Sudan. No refugees were from Libya and Yemen.

We rate Trump’s claim Mostly True.

Our Sources

Email exchange, White House interview with Steven Cheung, Feb. 12, 2017

Refugee Processing Center Interactive reporting tool

New York Times, "Trump Says Refugees Are Flooding U.S. in Misleading Allusion," Feb. 11, 2017.

Tweet, Donald Trump

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More by Allison Graves

Donald Trump says refugee admissions surged from 7 countries during suspension of executive order

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