While the liberal media and a slew of anti-Trump protesters were freaking out on Saturday over President Trump’s executive order on immigration, customs officials were busy dealing with the actual situation on the ground at U.S. airports.
It was widely reported by the news media that approved visa holders, legal permanent residents and foreign-exchange students were being held up at airports across the country, all thanks to Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” that put a temporary hold on refugees admitted from a select few Middle Eastern nations. (We explain why the EO wasn’t anything close to a “Muslim ban” right here.) According to the avalanche of left-leaning articles and hyperbolized news reports, you’d think refugees were standing at the doors to our airports and banging on the windows to be set free, or that every person with a head scarf was exiting the plane only to be shot on sight.
But in all the media hype surrounding the EO and its admittedly butchered rollout, just how many people were actually affected by the initial confusion?
Well, according to a Monday report published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a relatively few. CBP reported customs officials recommended a denial of boarding for 721 people following the executive order. Additionally, DHS granted 1,059 waivers to legal permanent residents who returned to the United States during that time. Another 75 visa holders were granted waivers.
In all, only 1,855 people had been directly affected by the EO’s chaotic implementation as of Monday.
CBP added there are another 872 refugees “in transit” to the United States, adding they will be processed accordingly:
There are currently 872 refugees who are considered to be in transit who are scheduled to arrive in the United States this week. The Secretaries of State and DHS have coordinated and will process the 872 individuals consistent with the terms of the Executive Order, which we’ve operationalized by assessing each traveler on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s put all this into perspective. The U.S. Travel Association reports that in 2015, the most recent year on record, the U.S. received a total of 77.5 million international arrivals, averaging out to a little more than 212,000 people per day.
Safely assuming that average hasn't changed significantly in the past year, this means those 1,855 passengers who were affected by the executive order represented less than 0.3 percent of the international arrivals processed during the roughly 72-hour time period between Trump's signing of the executive order and CBP issuing their report.
And while it’s certainly lamentable that these 1,855 people encountered such confusion and chaos during their travels, the actual figures prove the weekend’s administrative flub was hardly the sweeping nationwide crisis the media portrayed it to be.