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Who Is Granted Asylum in the United States?

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Katharina Buchholz

A new report by the UN alleges that China may have committed crimes against humanity in the Muslim-majority Xinjiang province in its Western part. According to the report, the treatment of minority groups like the Uyghurs - including widespread discrimination, detention, torture and forced labor - could constitute international crimes of this magnitude. While 12 million Uyghurs are living in Xinjiang, many have also fled the province. According the The Economist, the number of Chinese asylum-seekers worldwide has skyrocketed since current President Xi Jinping rose to power in 2012. Around 70 percent of these people try for asylum in the United States and the nationality has been the most common to receive it the fiscal year of 2020, the latest on record.

While the U.S. does not publish information on the ethnicity of asylum-seekers, Muslim Chinese minorities have been known to apply for and receive asylum in European countries. While the majority of applications are most likely Han Chinese, which make up 90 percent of the Chinese population, Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are still likely overrepresented among overseas asylum-seekers.

As seen in the data by the Department of Homeland Security, around 4,800 Chinese were granted asylum in the U.S. in 2020 - down from almost 8,000 due to pandemic restrictions. The second most common nationality to receive asylum in the U.S. that year were Venezuelans, followed by Guatemalans, El Salvadorians and Turkish people. Overall asylum grants reached a low in 2020 and 2021 in the country.

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