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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday that Syrian Christians will be given priority when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States.

"If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians," Trump said in an excerpt of an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Pew Research Center said last October 38,901 Muslim refugees entered the United States in fiscal year 2016 from all countries - almost the same number of Christian refugees, 37,521.

Trump was expected to sign an executive order on Friday that would temporarily halt refugees from some Muslim-majority nations, a White House official said.

(Reporting by Eric Beech; editing by Grant McCool)

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