U.S. Passes Germany as Largest Recipient of New Asylum Requests

Asylum seekers walk along Roxham Road near Champlain, New York / Getty
June 19, 2018

The United States has passed Germany to become the largest recipient of new asylum applications worldwide, according to the United Nations.

The U.N. Refugee Agency released a report on Tuesday showing the number of individual asylum applicants fell by 73 percent in Germany between 2016 and 2017, from 722,400 to 198,300, Politico reported.

Meanwhile, the U.S. saw a nearly 27 percent increase in new applications within a year, reaching 331,700 in 2017. This was the first time since 2012 when the U.S. was the largest recipient of new asylum applications.

Germany's sharp drop in new asylum seekers has been attributed to the closure of a route through the Balkans commonly taken to reach the country at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, as well as an EU migration deal agreed with Turkey in 2016.

Meanwhile, more people last year from parts of North and Central America "undertook the perilous journey northwards to seek asylum in Mexico and the United States of America," the U.N. report said.

The report said that worldwide forced displacement reached a new high in 2017 for the fifth year in a row. This statistic included 25.4 million refugees and 40 million internally displaced people.

"We are at a watershed, where success in managing forced displacement globally requires a new and far more comprehensive approach so that countries and communities aren't left dealing with this alone,"said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

Regarding refugees in absolute numbers, Turkey continued to host the highest number with 3.5 million people total, mainly Syrians. Relative to its national population, Lebanon had the largest number of refugees, 164 per 1,000 inhabitants.