LANSING — The number of refugees re-settled in Michigan has dropped sharply over the past six months, mirroring a national trend, according to new analysis of U.S. State Department data from the Pew Research Center.
Last October Michigan re-settled 563 refugees. As of April, that number has fallen to 168. Nationally, 9,945 refugees were re-settled in October, while only 3,316 were settled in April. The Pew report did not delve into causes of the trend.
Phillip Conner, a Pew research associate who analyzed the data, said that despite the sharp drop-off in numbers, the demographics of the refugees remain the same: Congo, Syria, Iraq and Somalia. Religious affiliation also remains unchanged.
“Which means there’s slightly a higher number of Muslims than Christians that entered the United States,” Conner said.
The State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration reviews refugee applications based on referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, U.S. embassies, nongovernmental organization and other programs. Applications are then processed by the State Department, The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and other federal agencies. The application and approval process can take up to 24 months.