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 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.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

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.