As World Refugee Population Hits All-Time High, U.S. on Pace to Welcome Third-Lowest Percentage in Recorded History

Global refugee population from 2012-2016 spikes from 10.5 million to 17.2 million; Trump so far admitting fewer than 3,500 per month


Happy June 20th! ||| UNHCR

Today, like every June 20 this century, is World Refugee Day. Yesterday, to get the grim occasion rolling, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released its annual report on displaced people. The results? A record "65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide at the end of 2016 – a total bigger than the population of the United Kingdom and about 300,000 more than last year." Also: "the total seeking safety across international borders as refugees topped 22.5 million, the highest number seen since UNHCR was founded in 1950 in the aftermath of the Second World War." Happy June 20!

The refugee population has spiked alarmingly over the past half-decade, due to civil war and societal breakdown in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan. As I detailed here after President Donald Trump's original travel ban executive order, the worldwide population of refugees (minus the 5.3 million registered with the UN Relief and Work Agency for Palestinians in the Near East), was stable between 2008-2012, at between 10.4 million and 10.6 million. But since then, according to the UNHCR, things have gone like this:

2013: 11.7 million

2014: 14.4 million

2015: 16.1 million

2016: 17.2 million

That 64 percent jump since 2012 is the largest five-year increase since 1979-1983, a tumultuous period that saw southeast Asian boat people, exiles from the Iranian Revolution, Flordia Straits-crossers on the Mariel boatlift, and more. Back then, as the refugee population swelled from 6.3 million to 10.6 million, presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter took in an average of 127,000 refugees per yer*, or approximately one out of every 71 worldwide, and assumed a global leadership role in tackling a devilishly complex issue.

How does the Trump administration compare? Consider that in the first four full months of his presidency, during this historic spike in displaced people, the United States admitted a total of 13,955 refugees. Over a full year that would be just a tick under 56,000, or one out of every 307 worldwide at last year's refugee population.

Trump's target is actually lower than that (50,000), and the number of refugees in 2017 is almost certain to be higher, due to the four famines expected this year in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Yemen, in addition to ongoing wars and civil conflict. And though we inevitably and understandably see such crises through the lens of our domestic policies, the UNHCR report is careful to underline that "Developing regions hosted 84 per cent of the world's refugees," led by Turkey (2.9 million), Pakistan (1.4 million), Lebanon (1.0 million), Iran (979,400), Uganda (940,800), and Ethiopia (791,600). Plenty of other fascinating nuggets, including Germany doubling its refugee population in 2016 alone, in the full report.

* The U.S. measures its refugee intake by fiscal year (October-September), while the UNHCR adheres to the calendar. Even so, fiscal 2017, which includes four generous months of Barack Obama's intake (with more than 32,000 admitted), is currently on pace to represent the third-lowest percentage of global refugees taken in by the United States, at 0.35 percent (based on the UN's 2016 baseline of 17.2 million refugees). The only more stingy years on a percentage basis were George W. Bush's 2002 (0.25) and 2003 (0.29).

More refugee number-crunching in this post, including this from Reason TV:

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  1. When did it become government’s job to welcome refugees?

    1. When did it become government’s job to prevent them from entering the country?

      1. And how is babby formed?

        1. They need to do way instain mother. Duh.

      2. Umm, like since forever?

      3. Is this some kind of joke? The utter disregard for borders is a relatively new thing.

        1. So new that it hasn’t even happened yet (in the US, anyway, you could say that the Schengen zone is something close to utter disregard for borders.).

          1. Millions of people, and growing, acting incredulous that anyone would want to enforce a national border is a disregard for borders. Great snark though, you almost had it.

            1. Millions of people, and growing, acting incredulous that anyone would want to enforce a national border is a disregard for borders.

              Nice goalpost shifting. The comment you were responding to was about government regulation of borders and immigration. The US government most definitely does not utterly disregard its borders.

              Disagreeing on how people crossing borders should be regulated is not incredulity that anyone would want to enforce a national border.

              1. Moving the goal posts? He didn’t ask about a specific policy, past or present, he asked a broad question about the duties of government, he asked “since when” is it the government’s job to stop people from entering the country. As a matter of fact, it’s been the job of the government since ancient times, better yet since prehistory when the first petty chieftain drew a line in the dirt at the mouth of his cave.

                Disagreeing on how people crossing borders should be regulated is not incredulity that anyone would want to enforce a national border.

                The “disregard for borders” that is relatively new, is people like Hugh acting incredulous that someone would assert that the government should enforce some kind of border. That is a disregard for the concept. And again he wasn’t talking about specific policy nuances, he asked a very broad question about the duties of government, implying that “preventing people from entering” is not one of them. That assertion precludes any regulation whatsoever.

                1. It’s hard to tell sometimes when someone is making a general comment and when it is a narrow response to another comment.

                  1. I understand. No hard feelings over here.

      4. US Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 9:
        The migration or importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.

        After 1808, Congress’ enumerated power was to regulate immigration and importation of slaves.

        1. That’s (part of) the explicit statement(s). Whether you like it or not, Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 3 kinda strongly suggests the import/export of foreign goods and workers falls squarely in Congress’s lap. Form a Union and ensure tranquility either means borders or world government. Assuming they meant limited government, I’m gonna go with borders.

        2. “Enumerated” does not mean what you think it means.

          That clause went void in 1808 and has no relevance for anything after that date.

      5. When did it become government’s job to prevent them from entering the country?

        Are they OWED entry?


        So, it is solely at our discretion.

        The world doesn’t want us to be policeman. Fine. I don’t either.

        World: Solve your own damned problems.

        1. Our discretion? You have a say in whether I want a friend from another country to stay with me?

          1. I don’t care whom he stays with.

          2. The electorate does. No borders would be great, open borders are a shitshow. Until there are no political borders, yes I fear the electorate gets to say what classes or groups of people can immigrate.

          3. I don’t have a say in who you can have stay with you. But I also have no obligation to make special exceptions to the law to enable that person to get to your residence.

          4. To enter OUR country?

            Yes, the people have a right to say “Your friend isn’t welcome in our country”.

            It’s called immigration law.

      6. When did it become government’s job to prevent them from entering the country?

        At least since the Immigration Act of 1924, you ignorant piece of shit.

        Also, the government PAYS for their relocation and they are automatically eligible for EVERY federal, state and local welfare program upon arrival (a privilege exclusive to refugees). How many refugees are you personally willing to pay for? Probably not too many, you’re happy to pass that off to everyone else. What a principled moronic twat you are.

      7. Hint: Since there were borders.

        So Trump is making progress after all. Bravo! We need more refugees like Hugh Akston needs a high [cranial] colonic. Oh wait. That would mean we DO need refugees.

        We don’t.

    2. Otherwise, Democrats are not going to win elections ever again.

  2. I consider illegal immigrants to be refugees, and we have millions of them. Refugees fleeing danger should go to the nearest safe nation. The UN should do its fucking job and set up camps and feed these people. If there was a war in Canada or Central America that led to refugees, America would be the place for this to happen, but we’re too far away for large-scale refugee placement. We should take those who have assisted America and pressure the UN to do a better job with camps and providing safety for them.
    I’m an open borders-sh guy who thinks anybody who can buy a plane ticket here and follow the legal procedure should be able to stay in America, with no quotas. We can’t take in ALL the world’s poor though.

    1. I’m with you there. Immigration should be pretty open in my view. But that does’t mean we have to go out of our way to bring refugees here. If US involvement leads directly to the refugee situation, then I think there is probably some ethical obligation to take in some refugees. But outside of that, it shouldn’t be government policy to take in some proportion of the world’s refugees and displaced people. If individuals want to take it upon themselves to do so, good for them.

    2. Re: colorblind,

      I consider illegal immigrants to be refugees

      They’re not refugees. They’re merely immigrants who happen not to have government-issued transit papers.

    3. I consider illegal immigrants to be refugees, and we have millions of them. Refugees fleeing danger should go to the nearest safe nation.

      WTHF? So, Ecuadorans and Venezuelans are Colombia’s responsibility? Or Brazil? Or Mexico?

      What if we put this another way: All the left-leaning professors who’ve either sponsored or sat by and watched Universities grow increasingly socialist should be allowed to relocate to the University of their choice lest they be consumed by the socialist, infantile horde? Fuck no.

      I’m not in favor of allowing zero people in but we aren’t and shouldn’t be the world police, not to mention that we’ve got our own problems that we don’t need to exacerbate and/or proliferate.

      1. Permanently balkanizing the country in an irreversible social experiment predicated on radical egalitarianism is certainly not something that ought to be expanded ad infinitum, and you’re a total racist bigot something-o-phobe for saying it!

    4. Does your concept of “follow the legal procedure” include having skills or education to be self-supporting or having a sponsor who can assume responsibility, or does the cost of one-way airfare include a ticket to the buffet of federal and state social services?

    5. We can’t take in ALL the world’s poor though.

      Nor should we even try.

  3. I think we should take refugees from any of the hornet’s nests we’ve stirred up. If we’re not involved, not our problem.

    1. I haven’t personally stirred up any hornets nests. I know better than to involve myself in foreign wars.

      1. You stirred up a lot of hornet’s nests with that social contract you signed at birth.

      2. Well then it’s no wonder that everybody else but you has an obligation to pay for refugees to get here and then sit on the dole for the rest of their lives.

    2. . If we’re not involved, not our problem.

      Luckily for the refugees we are involved in Yemen, and Somalia, and Syria, and South Sudan and Iraq, and probably every other place, too.

      1. Yeah, I would have added an example where we aren’t involved if I could have thought of one.

        1. Tibet, maybe?

          1. What’s Brad Pitt, chopped liver?

            1. He’s looking more and more like it every day, isn’t he.

          2. We let them have Tibet in exchange for iPhones, no bigs. Just ignore those video’s of machete wielding Chinese officers cutting down a bunch of unarmed monks, nothing to see there. Move along.

    3. Every one of those places was already fucked up when we got there.

      Syria – civil war started long before our involvement
      Libya – ditto
      Iraq – horrible dictator who gassed opposition in 2/3 of his country
      Somalia – fell into anarchy long before our involvement
      Afghanistan – attacked us on 9/11 so fuck them

  4. Global refugee population from 2012-2016 spikes from 10.5 million to 17.2 million; Trump so far admitting fewer than 3,500 per month

    Feels good, man.

      1. I know my life is measurably improved with this change.

        1. The seen and unseen distinction may be lost on you here. What gets better, is the as of yet unseen improvement in my children and grandchildren’s lives sharing a polity with just that many fewer Muslims than would otherwise be the case.

        2. How much does your life improve when Maricopa county has to deal with half a million extra Mexican drug runners that you never see? You seem pretty fucking invested in having more Muslims’n’Mexicans here even though you’ve probably never met one that wasn’t doing menial labor for the white business owner you actually deal with.

          Good comb too. Nothing but peace and tranquility can come from the cultural diversity we get from blending disparate peasant cultures from opposite sides of the planet.

    1. Finally a POTUS who kept a campaign promise.

      1. A few campaign promises:

        2) Gorsuch
        3) push tax reform
        4) defund Planned Parenthood
        5) Temporarily ban people from hostile muslim countries
        6) deport illegals

          1. You were mothered pretty hard as a child huh?

            1. It’s true – I wish I was raised to feel safe by firmly wrapping my lips around the throbbing authoritarian cock of government.

              1. I think in your case, any cock would do.

                1. Well, Crusty, Mikey Two called you gay. That’s his jab. Here comes the right cross, where he will knock you out by calling you a woman.

                  1. It’s strange you don’t accuse Crusty of homophobia while you’re at it since he’s the one that brought accusations of cock sucking into this. Well it’s not strange, it’s entirely par for the cosmo course. Fag.

                    1. it’s not strange, it’s entirely par for the cosmo course. Fag.

                      You are reminding me of how much I missed the intellectual discourse of Hit and Run’s halcyon days.

                      It was special time.

                      *wipes tear*

                  2. Being called gay is the worst insult a true alpha like myself can receive.

                    1. I called a Chipper a fag because I thought it might trigger his little feelings. You, I just equated to a servile gimp, whose actual sexual orientation is largely irrelevant to the insult.

                    2. I just equated to a servile gimp

                      Aw. I am glad you got that off your chest, big guy; do you feel better now?

                    3. So you just copy and paste a partial quote to change the meaning, is that what you’re reduced to? I’m kind of embarrassed to find myself exchanging insults with what appears to be a bona fide journalist.

                    4. I’m kind of embarrassed to find myself exchanging insults with what appears to be a bona fide journalist.

                      You are the one lamely insulting people, big guy. But hey, if that is what makes you feel good, then more power to you.

                    5. *hugs Free Society*

                      Your safe now.

                    6. Too true.

          2. Your name changes scare me.

    2. Did you just Pepe this shit, motherfucker? Did you?

  5. My wife is a refugee. I didn’t know this until about 2 months ago. I don’t remember how it came up but she spit it out. A refugee from fucking Hong Kong, the wealthiest city on the planet. She gets the joke. Her dad grew up on the mainland during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution and might have a story to tell, but he speaks no English and I speak no Mandarin. The mom is Cantonese, grew up in Hong Kong, so she doesn’t talk so well with him either. At 80, he tends to the garden, watches sports on the TV, and reads the Chinese language newspapers, cover-to-cover, like a demon. I think I know who the refugee is.

    1. She gets the joke.

      I don’t. Was she fleeing Hong Kong for some reason (other than the China takeover, in which case then she would be a refugee from China and that I could understand)?

      1. I didn’t put a clear timeline in there. My wife and her family fled Hong Kong as refugees in 1968, three decades before the 1999 handover of Hong Kong to China.

    2. She is not a refugee by any standard other than the USG told her family they were.

  6. Where does the U.N. gets its numbers from. I’m thinking they are as reliable as the Homeless numbers Americans are lied to about every year

    1. Good point.

    2. Where does the U.N. gets its numbers from. I’m thinking they are as reliable as the Homeless numbers Americans are lied to about every year

      The IPCC, duh.

  7. Why does the USA have to take in boatloads of refugees or all our good deeds are forgotten?

  8. Best news I’ve heard all day.

    Let’s try to get the number down to zero next year.

  9. If you want to shrink the number of refugees, don’t accept refugees. Instead make effective war on this e who create refugees, and make sure that their replacements are an improvement….by governing the place yourself.

    What we are seeing is the failure of post-colonial diplomacy. Colonialism was bad, but in almost every case what replaced it has been worse.

    1. Did you just Pax Romana this shit, motherfucker? Did you?

    2. This sounds horribly racist, but it was a huge mistake to introduce Africa and Asia to guns and antibiotics.

      1. And now they’re trying to wipe out mosquitoes! The only thing that keeps the continent from sinking under the weight of all the useless biomass. Shame! Shame!

        Africans shooting out kids like kernels of popcorn from an uncovered popper and we’re supposed to take them in?


      2. Hmmm… I think guns, actually came from Asia.

  10. That’s fine.

    I no more want us to be the world’s policeman than I want us to be the world’s refugee camp.

    1. They are gonna make you house at least 20 of these brown swarthy refugees at gun point. It’s either that or a pond full of gay frogs in your backyard. Your choice.

      1. Don’t be silly. The government would never do something like that! They will just steal your money at gun point to provide free travel, free housing, free food and free accommodation to every refugee for life by statutory requirement. Ain’t libertarianism grand?

  11. Neocons believe America is obliged to solve the world’s problems by sending our military to countries they think are bad.

    Libertarians believe we are obliged to solve the world’s problems by encouraging people from bad places to move here.

    Sane people believe we are not obliged to solve the world’s problems.

    1. Libertarians believe we are obliged to solve the world’s problems by encouraging people from bad places to move here.

      Not forbidding isn’t the same as encouraging. The libertarian position on immigration has nothing to do with solving the world’s problems. Why do people always do this with immigration? The frequent use of “import” when talking about immigration is particularly annoying.

      In the case of refugees, “import” is reasonably accurate. But that’s a tiny proportion of immigration. It’s a little funny to see supposed libertarians switch to central planning-speak as soon as people crossing a border comes into play.

      1. The libertarian position has always been that government has very few legitimate purposes, but securing the borders is one of them. So yeah, it’s one of the few areas where libertarians support central-planning (your words) over total freedom.

        1. You miss my point. “Importing” implies that someone has made a decision that we are going to bring in these immigrants. Allowing people to cross a border is not “importing” people. Slaves were imported. Immigrants are people making their own choices about where to go. (I’m talking about immigrants who make their own way here now, not refugees).

          Assuming that government has any legitimate powers, I will grant that maintaining/securing a border is one of them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean heavily regulating and restricting who can cross and for what reasons and certainly doesn’t need to involve central planning of what sort and how many immigrants should be allowed to enter the country.

          1. “Importing” implies that someone has made a decision that we are going to bring in these immigrants.

            Everyone who crosses the border makes that decision. The government contributes to that decision when they don’t shoot them as they attempt to cross over.
            As long as things are better HERE than they are THERE, “refuse-gees” will want to cross over. All 5 billion of them.

            My decision? “I’m agin it.”

            1. Visit an Ecuadorian bank and you’ll see a US-exported situation that anyone with a lick of sense would flee.

      2. Considering that all the NGOs and “charities” that actively recruit destitute immigrants from abroad and then get paid by uncle sam for the privilege of taking them, importation isn’t necessarily a bad way to describe it.

        1. Yes, and I said that. And that that sort of thing makes up a tiny portion of immigration to the US. I have no problem with doing away with that sort of thing. The US has no obligation to bring poor people from around the world to the country.

          1. Yeah but…. Statue of Liberty!

            1. Yeah but… Statute of Limitations!

      3. Not forbidding isn’t the same as encouraging.

        1. Love when it cuts off the comment.

          Not forbidding tends to be encouragement.

          If we didn’t forbid theft, robbery would skyrocket.

    2. First, not all Libertarians want open borders and endless refugees.

      Second, sane people also think that other people can solve their own problems.

      1. …other sane people, maybe. But without that qualifier your argument is inductively weak. Observe the results of Europe importing hordes of Saracen berserkers, most of them eager to sacrifice all bystanders in their zeal to tally up infidels for Allah and inculcate their offspring with identical reverence for life and freedom.

    3. What, 10% of the refugees are probably the right age and physical condition to be soldiers. That’s six million soldiers capable, with support, of returning to their home countries and kicking the crap out of the dictators, evil war lords, corrupt officials, nutso religionists and others who made them refugees. The colonies fought back with far less provocation from George III than these refugees face today.

      1. The colonies fought back with far less provocation from George III than these refugees face today.

        The colonists fled across the ocean and were effectively left with nowhere (conceptually) to hide. The 6 million soldiers you expect to rally were free to travel across borders, arm themselves, and return of their own volition and chose not to do so. I’m not saying they’re all cowards, I’m just saying that we’ve spent lots of time and money in Iraq and Afghanistan to teach the gun-toting natives how to secure peace and ensure domestic tranquility.

        1. I’m saying they’re cowards.

          If they aren’t willing to try to fix their OWN problems, what makes you think they’ll be any different once they get HERE?

    4. Drop the bombs, import the survivors.

      It works out perfectly when you consider that they both want the same thing.

      1. Okay, I’m fine with that… provided you drop ENOUGH bombs and the bombs are big enough. (100 50-Megaton bombs should do for most countries.)

    5. Libertarians believe we are obliged to solve the world’s problems by encouraging people from bad places to move here.

      Not all libertarians. You might notice that the few libertarians who’ve had actual electoral success are all against open borders.

  12. You should have seen this before but here:

    Ann Corcoran has been following this topic for over a decade now with a nativist slant. Forget the nativist slant and pay attention to how much money Lutheran churches make out of this. Catholics and other Christian denominations cash on this too, but Lutherans are the vanguard.

    You might wonder why Somali refugees move to ice-cold Minnesota, of all places. German Lutherans.

    1. Yeah, the refugees system is a taxpayer paid for business. The worse kind of private/public enterprise where government and its cronies can virtue signal using the taxpayers money

    2. Libertarians love Muslims’n’Mexicans more than they hate Christians. Plus importing refugees on the taxpayer dime probably counts as religious freedom. Once they get them here, then they can force them to bake cakes for fags.

  13. Another Reason article talking about refugees but does not talk about who pays for these refugees.

    These refugees once allowed into the US by international law are eligible for all taxpayer supplied benefits that US permenent residents get and the so-called charities that handle the refugees are paid for every one of these refugees and by handle that means they help sign up these refugees for the taxpayer supplied goodies.

    1. Refugees (generally) are choosing serfdom over death, but immigrants are mostly just trading one form of serfdom for another. Mexicans are mostly just choosing the next-convenient serfdom, whereas Europeans get to shop for whichever serfdom suits them better.

      In the past the US never needed to make a “morality” case for refugees because the “liberty” case was better – they were escaping welfare-state hellholes and coming into a non-welfare state. But that is no longer the case. And now you see the morality pleas because liberty is a non-starter.

    2. That’s the scam – they get ferried over to Europe by NGO’s funded by creeps like Soros, then end up wards of whatever state is dumb enough to take them in.

      1. That’s why I cheers the Slovaks on the recent diaspora.

        They agreed to take 200 refugees… provided they were christians (not muslims).

        1. Sounds reasonable. One can hardly expect them to roll out the red carpet for lepers.

  14. The title may as well read ‘as the worlds definition of refugee changes, and methods and resolution of tracking their movements improves, numbers go up’ in breathless scare quotes.

  15. America should only allow the best and brightest and wealthiest refugees entry to our great nation, thereby ensuring survival of the fittest. Also, of course, the prettiest and most fertile to make up for those of us who prize living effortless off the fat of our parents labors, imagination and hard work, forgoing the expense of extending their bloodlines. The rest genuinely prefer to stay in the rat holes they grew up in, since they don’t know any better. Allowing in the lower echelon would only further slide us down the scale of best educated countries and damage our self respect. Permanently displacing indigenous peoples here is tantamount to putting them in zoos rather than letting them run free in the wild. In our Country they risk being infected with social and sexual deviancies, if not properly inoculated with years of liberal education beforehand. Resettling those who would otherwise be providing the unrest needed to topple dictators only works into the hands of those tyrants. Hillary’s goal was to bring in an average of 155,000 per year or 0.3 percent of the 17.2 million, which by any measure is still only a token. Supplementing our population is best done through undocumented entrants who exhibit the ingenuity, faith and luck it takes to bypass those roadblocks we set for the less industrious. Otherwise, bringing in refugees is like going to the shelter to adopt a cat, when the really good ones are those who find and adopt you.

    1. There may be something to that. A mutt puppy found and adopted my wife, and has since revealed itself a serviceable watchdog and affectionate pet.

  16. I think we should shoot for lowest. How are they going to fix what’s wrong in their country if they leave?

  17. I’d speculate that after Bush asset forfeiture wrecked the economy and the Kenyan beat the next robber republican–and continued the asset-forfeiture policies, that was the signal. It called for peons of all former colonies of Germany, Great Britain, France and Belgium plus the starveling victims of US exportation of czarist policies to Latin America to huddle within US borders. Here they hoped to escape the starvation of socialism exacerbated by the jackbooted minions of the CIA, FATF, AML, TF, CFT, DNFBP, IRS-CID, INL, ICRG, GIABA, GAFISUD, FSRB, FIU, FinCEN, EAG
    DARE, PIAB, OFBCI, DEA, NSA and their own US-subsidized looter politicians. So instead of exporting freedom, the Dems want to export a ban on electrical generation and the Go-Pee, more totalitarian Sharia law.

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