President Donald Trump has announced a new executive order on immigration. It is a slightly more lenient version of the extremely controversial “travel ban” he issued in February – Iraq has been exempted, leaving six instead of seven Muslim-majority countries on the list.
People from the six countries who hold visas or are lawful permanent residents of the United States are also exempt.
Trumps first “travel ban” sparked international ire and was eventually blocked by a federal court. This new ban is different, but it’s sure to keep the spotlight on the future of immigration and Islam in America. It’s time to step back and look at some numbers that put this issue in context.
Millions of people travel in and out of the US every year
Non-immigrants include people like tourists, business travelers, students and some relatives of US citizens. They also include workers with H-1B visas, given to people with specialty occupations.
The top nationalities of these visitors are: Mexico, Canada, the UK, Japan and China.
Refugees come from some surprising places
2016 saw a record number of Muslim refugees being let into the US. However refugees in general come from several different backgrounds and parts of the world.
Would you have guessed, for instance, that the top three countries from which refugees came last year were, in order, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and Myanmar?
New citizens also come from some surprising places
Let’s take a look at immigrants who eventually become citizens. That’s what naturalization is – becoming a full US citizen through a rigorous naturalization process. Mexico was the top place of birth for citizens naturalized in 2015. The other top two countries where these new US citizens were born? India and the Philippines.
Muslims make up a small portion of immigrants, and an even smaller portion of the population
According to the Pew Research Center, About a 10th of immigrants coming to the US are Muslim. They also estimate there are about 3.3 million people who practice Islam in the US. Another interesting tidbit from their report: They estimate the number of Americans who convert to Islam is about equal to the number of Muslim-Americans who convert to another faith or no longer identify with Islam.