2016 Was Busiest Year for Targeted Refugees
President Donald Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries has put a spotlight on those immigrant communities across the country.
The U.S. has taken in nearly 270,000 immigrants and refugees from the affected countries since 2007, according to an analysis of U.S. State Department data by The Associated Press.
Not surprisingly, many of the most populous states have taken in the largest share. California has accepted the most, by far, a total of 56,235. It's followed by Michigan, Texas, Arizona, New York and Illinois.
Florida, the nation's third most populous state, ranks somewhere in the middle, having accepted a little more than 5,000 immigrants or refugees from the seven countries. Yet of those, nearly 30 percent have arrived in just the past 13 months.
The AP analysis found that 2016 was the busiest year in the past decade for refugee arrivals from the seven countries targeted by the executive order — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Some 43,259 refugees from the countries arrived in the last year, more than a third from war-torn Syria. The number of Syrian refugees dramatically increased in recent years — from just 26 in 2007, to 247 in 2014 and to 15,479 in 2016.
Even within states, the distribution of refugees is typically concentrated to a few communities. Suburban Detroit, for example, gets the majority of Michigan's Syrian immigrants. In California, the most popular destination for Iranians, immigrants from that country mostly go to Southern California, with large concentrations in Los Angeles and Orange County. And yet the Central Valley farming town of Turlock, with a population of 73,000, has an outsized proportion of Iranians. It took in 1,175 over the 10-year period, more than double the number going to San Diego.
For Somalis, Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, are the most common destinations.
Libya and Yemen have produced the fewest number of refugees, a total of just 143 over the last decade.