The number of refugees entering the US has almost halved under President Donald Trump, according to new government statistics.
Data by the US Homeland Security Department shows that around 13,000 refugees have been allowed in to the US during Trump’s first three months in office, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The figure marks an 86 percent decrease from the 25,000 arrivals recorded in former President Barack Obama’s last year in office. Compared to the same period in 2016, the number fell by 12 percent.
The top five countries of origin for the refuges remained unchanged as nearly two thirds of refugees came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Myanmar.
This means the numbers would have dropped even further if Trump’s visa ban against several Muslim countries was not blocked by federal courts.
Trump has also put much effort to stop the influx of Hispanic migrants coming from Mexico and Central America and deport the illegal ones already living in the US, one of the hallmarks of his presidential campaign.
Characterizing Mexican migrants as murderers and rapists, Trump has pledged to build a wall that he claims Mexico would pay for.
The refugee crackdown has stirred outrage both in the US and abroad, prompting major protests and drawing resentment from longtime US allies such as the UK.
Last Wednesday, hundreds of activists marked the World Refugee Day by holding a rally outside the White House.
The speakers at the rally included refugees from Somalia, Congo, Pakistan, Syria and Liberia as well as faith leaders and representatives of around a dozen organizations that called the rally.
The protesters called on the Trump administration to commit to resettling at least 75,000 refugees in 2018, although the president has capped refugee admittance at 50,000.