America admitted 16,370 people fleeing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the year to September compared with 12,587 Syrians Refugees coming to the United States from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) outnumbered those from Syria over the last year, US state department data has revealed amid a heated debate over refugees ahead of the 8 November election.
The high number of refugees from the DRC follows violence and political turmoil in the central African nation, said Kathleen Newland, a senior fellow at the Washington DC-based Migration Policy Institute.
It may also reflect an easier passage for those from DRC, a majority Christian country, through the stringent vetting process refugees must undergo to enter the United States, she said.
“We have been extremely sensitive to the possibility of people who have been involved with militia groups, with rebel groups from Syria coming in through the refugee program,” Newland said.
“There is not an Islamist element among the combatants in DRC – at least that worry is not an element in the screening process.”
The United States admitted 16,370 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 2016 fiscal year to the end of September, compared with 12,587 Syrian refugees.