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Reality Check: Is Trump's Claim Biden Would Increase Immigration By 700% True?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Back on the campaign trail this week, President Donald Trump warned that low-income housing will "destroy" suburbs.

That follows harsh remarks in Minnesota, where the president said Democratic rival Joe Biden will bring more Somalis to the state and "turn it into a refugee camp."

The president's overheated rhetoric on refugees drew cheers from the packed-in crowd during a fevered campaign speech in Duluth. Trump repeatedly and falsely accused Biden of planning to "eliminate borders," and "to inundate your state with a historic flood of refugees!"

In Bemidji in mid-September, Trump said, "Sleepy Joe will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp!"

And in Duluth, on Sept. 30, he said, "They pledged a 700% increase in refugees! 700%! Congratulations Minnesota! Congratulations!"

Despite presidential language that critics say contains strong racial overtones, this is an example of something Trump says that is technically true -- but politically deceptive.

Trump slashed the number of new refugees in the United States by 80%, from 110,000 in 2016, to a record low 15,000 refugees in 2020.

Biden says he will restore the program to around 125,000 refugees a year. That's about a 600% increase, but it's only slightly larger than pre-Trump numbers.

Because of Trump's restrictions on new refugees, Minnesota refugee resettlement numbers are down 90% -- the fewest refugees in at least 15 years.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services Refugee Resettlement Program, the state took in 3,059 refugees in the last year of the Obama administration.

Under Trump, only 268 have been allowed so far this year.

Here's a list of Minnesota refugees, by year since 2016, according to the state's DHS:

  • 2016: 3,059
  • 2017: 1,003
  • 2018: 663
  • 2019: 891
  • 2020: 268

And though Minnesota has the largest Somali population in the country, only 22 Somali refugees were allowed into Minnesota so far in 2020.

Here are some sources used in this Reality Check:

New York Times: MN Connects 2 Dozen Coronavirus Cases With Campaign Events

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