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Advocates Use Online Tracker To Keep Tabs On Refugee Admissions

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More than5,300 refugees have come to the United States since October 1 — including more than 100 arrivals to Kentucky.

The advocacy coalition Refugee Council USA in October created an online tracker that it says will keep the Trump administration accountable as far as its promise to let in 45,000 refugees for federal fiscal year 2018. But so far, advocates say the current number is off pace to meet that ceiling.

“Without the tracker it’s a lot harder to raise signs of alarm and signs of concern that the U.S. might be further abdicating its global leadership in providing protection for the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Danielle Grigsby, associate director of Refugee Council USA.

Tracker stats are updated on Refugee Council USA’s website,as seen below:

Since October 1 — the beginning of the fiscal year — through December 26, 5,323 refugees have arrived in the United States. The tracker breaks down arrivals by region for the previous two week period. From December 11-26, most refugees arrived in the U.S. from the "Near East" region and South Asian countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Syria, according to the site.

Near East and South Asia arrivals totaled 545 during that time period, followed by arrivals from Africa which totaled 510. The region with the fewest arrivals for that period was Latin America, with 22 arrivals over the past two weeks.

Refugee Council USA updates the tracker biweekly with data from the Refugee Processing Center, which is managed by the U.S. State Department.

“It’s public-facing data that the Refugee Processing Center puts online. Anyone can go online and find it themselves, we just try to make it more accessible," Grigsby said.

“Our ability to then track those arrivals in real time allows us to ask the questions when they need to be asked, as opposed to waiting until later in the fiscal year and realizing that we are so behind in arrivals numbers.”

According to Grigsby's group,about 11,000 refugees should have arrived so far this fiscal year, though she said it’s not unprecedented to see fewer arrivals in the first quarter of the fiscal year.

From October 1, 2016 to January 1, 2017, roughly the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, more than 25,000 individuals were resettled in the United States; 874 of those individuals were resettled in Kentucky.

But from July 1, 2017 to September 30, 2017, or about the last quarter of the fiscal year, 4,461 individuals were resettled in the U.S.

Upon taking office, President Trump issued an executive order slashing the admissions ceiling of refugees to 50,000 — down from the 110,000 ceiling President Obama set for fiscal year 2017.

Trump's refugee admissions ceiling of 45,000 for fiscal year 2018 isthe lowest since 1980

Roxanne Scott covers education for WFPL News.