The United States Is No Longer the World Leader in Resettling Refugees

For the first time, Canada is now No. 1.

Syrian refugee children walk in mud after heavy rain this month at a refugee camp in Bar Elias, Lebanon. Bilal Hussein/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

For the first time in more than three decades, the United States is not the world leader in resettling refugees. That title now belongs to Canada—a nation with fewer people than California.

Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in 2018, according to a new analysis from Robert Falconer, a researcher at the University of Calgary’s public policy school. It is the first time in the 72 years of modern refugee resettlement that Canada has taken the top spot.

In 2018, Canada took in far fewer refugees than it did in 2016. What’s changed is that President Donald Trump is cutting the number of refugees allowed into the United States to historic lows.

After the United States adopted the Refugee Act of 1980, it resettled more refugees than every other country in the world combined for more than 30 years in a row. That ended when the United States took in only 33,000 refugees in 2017, fewer than half of the 69,000 accepted by other countries, according to the Pew Research Center.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the United States admitted nearly 85,000 refugees. That fell to a record low of 22,491 in the 2018 fiscal year. For 2019, the Trump administration has said it will take in no more than 30,000 refugees.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.