By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Citizens of the Middle East and North Africa represent a small fraction of the nearly 20,000 applicants who were granted asylum by US immigration courts
More than 400 citizens of countries in the Middle East and North Africa were granted asylum in the United States in the 2019 fiscal year, according to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
According to the data, Iraq had the greatest number of citizens granted asylum, with 113 people approved out of a total of 174 decisions made in the US immigration court system. Of the total, 58 people were denied and three others were granted “other relief”.
Iraq was followed by Syria, from where 150 individuals were granted asylum status out of a total of 164 decisions.
Syria, in turn, was followed by Sudan (38 people granted asylum status), Jordan and Lebanon (29 each), Yemen (20), Libya (15), Saudi Arabia (10), the UAE (8), Algeria and Palestine (5 each), Qatar (4) and Kuwait (3).
In total, 432 MENA nationals were successfully granted asylum out of a total of 631 court decisions.
Successful MENA asylum applications – and court decisions – form just a small part of the total.
According to the TRAC-compiled statistics, a total of 67,406 asylum cases were decided during the fiscal year, of which 19,831 applicants were granted asylum – more than double the 9,684 recorded in FY 2014. A total of 67,406 asylum cases were decided in court.
However, the number of immigrants were who were denied asylum or other relief grew at a faster pace, from 9,716 in FY 2014 to 46,735 in FY 2019. Of the total number of asylum seekers, 69 percent were denied asylum or other relief in 2019.
Globally, more Chinese nationals (3,623) were granted asylum than any other nationality. China was followed by El Salvador (2,419), India (2,006), Guatemala (1,610), Honduras (1,351), Mexico (849) and Cuba (734).