The Trump administration has again cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S., and the overwhelming majority of the small group of refugees who were admitted this past year are Christians.

Expand chart
Data: Department of State, Office of Admissions - Refugee Processing Center; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The big picture: Islam is the predominant religion in nations such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, which account for 39% of the 25 million refugees in the world, according to UN data. Most Christian refugees came from Iraq, Iran and Myanmar (formerly Burma), where many faced brutal persecution.

By the numbers: The number of Muslim refugees admitted into the U.S. dropped from more than 9,000 in the 2017 fiscal year to fewer than 2,000 with less than a month left in FY 2018 — an 80% drop.

  • Myanmar: A majority of Muslim refugees accepted into the U.S. in FY 2018 have come from Myanmar, where thousands of Muslim-majority Rohingya have been killed in an ethnic cleansing and hundreds of thousands have fled.
  • Somalia: The number of refugees admitted from the Muslim-majority, African nation of Somalia has dropped by 96% compared to last fiscal year.
  • For no known reasons, the White House expressed particular concern over allowing refugees from Somalia into the U.S., former chief of the refugee affairs division at USCIS Barbara Stack told Zoe Chace in the latest episode of This American Life.

Between the lines: The Trump administration has vowed to protect persecuted Christians around the world.

  • Vice President Mike Pence even pressured the United States Agency for International Development to specifically allocate millions of dollars for groups that help persecuted communities in Iraq.
  • But Christian refugees have faced increased rejection due to President Trump's lowering of the refugee cap.
  • The number of Christian refugees admitted to the U.S. dropped by more than 40% over the last year. One group of Iranian Christians who have been stranded in Austria have sued the administration as religious minorities.

What they're saying: In his announcement of the newest refugee cap cut, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to the skyrocketing number of asylum claims that the administration is also dealing with, which he said has created a backlog that deserves focus.

  • Dan Stein, president of Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates to cut immigration levels, told Axios last month that the number of refugees should be cut as asylum seekers and refugees are "extraordinarily expensive" for American taxpayers.

What to watch: With less than two weeks left in FY 2018, only 20,918 refugees have been admitted to the U.S., despite the cap being set at 45,000. The cap for FY 2019 will be 30,000.

Go deeper: What's happening in Myanmar

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. officials: Iran and Russia aim to interfere in election

Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.

Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: New York reports most COVID cases since MayStudies show drop in coronavirus death rate — The next wave is gaining steam.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
  5. World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court blocks Alabama curbside voting measure

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.

Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.