Only 11 Syrian refugees have been taken in by the US this year

'How can Donald Trump claim to care about the plight of the Syrian people and then do everything in his power to keep them out?'

Jane Dalton
Saturday 14 April 2018 22:57 BST
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Syrian refugee women and children in a refugee camp in Lebanon, close to the Syrian border
Syrian refugee women and children in a refugee camp in Lebanon, close to the Syrian border

America has accepted just 11 Syrian refugees so far this year, it was revealed, hours after Donald Trump ordered air strikes on the country, risking sparking an uprising in violence.

The number of asylum-seekers the US took in, is a marked contrast with previous years, when the country took in thousands.

It prompted accusations of hypocrisy by the Trump administration.

In 2015, under Barack Obama's presidency, the US admitted 2,192 Syrian refugees, State Department figures show.

This rose dramatically the following year, when 15,479 were allowed into the US. Last year, the country accepted 3,024 Syrians.

Mr Trump has repeatedly called for stricter controls on immigration and in September, he proposed a strict cap of 45,000 refugees from all nations to the US.

But he had expressed sympathy for victims of the suspected chemical attack earlier this month on the town of Douma in Syria, condemning the “mindless” act. He said: “Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!”

In a statement, he later added: "Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of god should ever suffer such horror."

Before the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons stores, he had warned Russia: “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

As this year's refugee figures were revealed, Democratic congressman Don Beyer claimed Mr Trump “steadfastly refused to honour American commitments to take in Syrian refugees” and condemned the decision to launch air strikes, saying it was “a dangerous abuse of his constitutional authority”.

Trita Parsi, leader of the National Iranian American Council, said with irony: “Truly amazing how much Trump cares for and loves to help the Syrian people.”

Talk-show host Bishop Talbert Swan claimed on Twitter: “#Trump cares about Syrians like the KKK cares about blacks and Jews!”

And Andrew Weinstein, a lawyer and chairman of the Democrats’ Lawyers’ Council, said: “How can @realDonaldTrump claim to care about the plight of the Syrian people and then do everything in his power to keep them out of our country?”

Trump administration officials have said national security concerns make tougher vetting of visitors and refugees necessary.

Earlier this year the government announced tougher screening procedures to weed out potential extremists and criminals from “high-risk” countries.

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