The U.S. surpassed Germany as the largest recipient of asylum applications last year, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.N. Refugee Agency.
331,700 foreigners applied for American asylum in 2017, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, making the U.S. the world leader in asylum claims for the first time since 2012, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Germany’s asylum applications dropped dramatically due to the closure of a travel route through the Balkans that delivered millions of refugees to German borders during the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.
The report, which indicates asylum claims roughly doubled in Canada last year, cited increased migration from Central America as the primary driver of the increase in North American claims. Worldwide claims were up for the fifth year in a row.
“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 in a statement.
The report comes as President Trump returned to citing the difficulties European states have faced in assimilating large numbers of refugees in defense of his administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” immigration-enforcement policy.
“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!” Trump tweeted Monday.
Critics pointed out that Germany’s national crime rate fell in 2017. Violent crime in Germany, however, rose 10 percent in 2017, according to a Reuters report, which attributed the spike to male refugees. And Trump’s tweet did accurately capture shifting German public opinion, which according to multiple polls, now heavily favors more restrictive immigration policies.