Impact of Executive Orders on the Refugee Resettlement Program
There have been significant changes to the U.S. refugee resettlement program in recent years. The number of refugees resettled in Kentucky declined by 63% between Fiscal Year 2016 and Fiscal Year 2018. In FY2016, Kentucky resettled 2,390 refugees. In FY2018, which ended 09/30/2018, Kentucky resettled 897 refugees.
In Fiscal Year 2017 Kentucky planned on welcoming 2,431 refugees, but the number of arrivals was reduced due to a series of Executive Orders, including a 120 day pause on all refugee admissions, with limited exceptions. Kentucky ended up resettling 1,583 refugees in FY2017.
After the 120 pause on refugee admissions, a new announcement was made in early FY2018 that resumed the U.S. refugee admissions program with enhanced vetting capabilities. Additional screening measures are placed on refugee applicants from countries determined to be high risk.
The largest number of refugees come from Syria. There are currently 6.7 million refugees living outside of Syria and unable to return. In 2019, the United States resettled only 631 refugees from Syria. 15 were resettled in Kentucky.