Only 11 Syrian refugees have been allowed into the U.S. this year, a figure that is dwarfed by the number of bombs Trump dropped on Syria in a single night.
The U.S. fired at least 118 missiles in an airstrike on Syria Friday night, in what Trump claimed was a response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people.
Speaking about the chemical attack that killed as many 70 civilians last weekend, Trump called the incident a “heinous attack on innocent Syrians,” adding, “This is about humanity. We’re talking about humanity.”
Indeed, this is about humanity. But Trump wasn’t so concerned about humanity when he slammed the door shut on Syrian refugees and turned his back on the world’s most vulnerable people.
According to the State Department, the U.S. has only allowed 11 Syrian refugees into the country since the start of 2018 — meaning that the number of bombs Trump dropped on Syria in one night is about 10 times greater than the number of Syrian refugees he has allowed into the country all year.
For comparison, during the last year of President Barack Obama’s presidency in 2016, the U.S. let 15,479 Syrian refugees into the country. By mid-April 2016, almost 800 Syrian refugees had already been resettled that year — about 79 times as many as this year.
Almost immediately after taking office, Trump slammed the door on those refugees with his first “travel ban,” which prohibited all refugees and all arrivals from Syria. Despite being put on hold and restricted by the courts, the ban still had its intended effect as refugee admissions plummeted.
When the 120-day refugee ban expired in October, Trump replaced it with a pause on refugee admissions from 11 countries, including Syria. The U.S. started accepting refugees from Syria again in January, but the “vetting” procedures put in place by the Trump administration have effectively barred Syrian refugees from entering the country.
Only 44 Syrians fleeing war have found refuge in the U.S. since October 2017 — a 99 percent drop from the same period the year before.
Taking his cruel assault even further, Trump publicly condemned the leaders of countries like Germany — which has taken in a huge number of people seeking asylum — for accepting refugees, and urged them to shut their doors, too.
The United Nations has declared the Syrian refugee crisis to be the worst in modern history. Just this week, Defense Secretary James Mattis described the atrocities in Syria, saying, “I’ve seen refugees from Asia to Europe, Kosovo to Africa. I’ve never seen refugees as traumatized as coming out of Syria. It’s got to end.”
But bombing Syria isn’t going to end the refugee crisis — and falsely invoking humanitarianism as a rationale to launch a largely ineffective airstrike isn’t going to help the innocent Syrians Trump spoke of this week.
If Trump cares about humanity, he should stop turning his back on the humanitarian crisis at his doorstep.