Politifact: Donald Trump muffs in Texas, says Obama plans to admit 250,000 Syrians

Donald Trump kicked off a November rally in Beaumont with a moment of silence for victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.

In the aftermath of the attacks, conflicting reports on the citizenship status of the perpetrators led 30 state governors and most of the Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, to speak out against Syrian refugees entering the United States.

Trump began his Nov. 14 speech at Beaumont’s Ford Park Arena by calling the events in Paris the night before “terrible.”

“And when you look at what happened in that case, it’s just reported, one from Syria. And our president wants to take in 250,000 from Syria,” Trump added, citing one of the Paris attacker’s alleged Syrian nationality.

So, has President Obama decided to admit 250,000 Syrian refugees?

We didn’t hear back from Trump’s campaign on that. But in October, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity made a claim like the one Trump offered in Beaumont, though Hannity mentioned another country as well, saying: “The president said he’s going to bring in 250,000 (Syrian and Iraqi) refugees into this country.”

Pants on Fire!

At the time, PolitiFact found that Hannity had lofted a figure not rooted in Obama administration plans.

Hannity offered as backup for his claim a Sept. 20 news story by The Associated Press stating that the U.S. planned to accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year — up from 70,000 — and that total would rise to 100,000 in 2017, per Secretary of State John Kerry. Hannity added up the total number of refugees allowed each year from all over the world, to get 255,000 refugees.

To repeat: The AP story said those figures reflected refugees to be welcomed from around the world, not just Syria or the Middle East. On Sept. 10, the Obama administration announced plans to increase the number of Syrian refugees to at least 10,000.

To our request for elaboration, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said by email that the U.S. is increasing the “number of Syrian and other refugees we admit from around the world on an annual basis,” going up to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.

In September, Kerry shared the Obama administration’s plans to increase the total number of refugees coming into the United States from all countries from 70,000 to 85,000 in fiscal year 2016, with “10,000 over the next year from Syria specifically,” Kerry said. The following year, Kerry said, the target would be closer to 100,000 total, again from all countries.

Between Oct. 1, 2011, and Nov. 20, 2015, the U.S. resettled 2,261 Syrian refugees in 36 states, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that analyzes migration. Most recently, according to a report submitted to Congress this October, the U.S. admitted between 1,600 and 1,800 Syrian refugees in the fiscal year through September.

Institute spokeswoman Michelle Mittelstadt told us: “We know of no proposal by the administration to admit 250,000 Syrian refugees.”

Our ruling

Trump said President Obama wants to take in 250,000 people from Syria.

If current plans hold, Syrian refugees settling here will increase through 2017, but it will be nothing close to the 250,000 figure touted by Trump. The administration has plans to increase refugees admitted from all countries from 70,000 in 2015 to 100,000 in 2017.

Nothing close? We rate this claim Pants on Fire!

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