The appeal came in a joint statement from the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration in reaction to Trump's sweeping new executive order on Friday suspending refugee arrivals and imposing tough controls for travelers from seven Muslim countries. He is expected to announce several dramatic changes to the U.S. Refugee Resettlement program, including a temporary moratorium on all refugee resettlement, an indefinite ban on those coming from Syria, and a dramatic reduction to the overall number of refugees the United States will consider receiving this year.
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration called on the new President's administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, a right protected by international law.
"We will continue to engage actively and constructively with the U.S. Government, as we have done for decades, to protect those who need it most, and to offer our support on asylum and migration matters". And it has a remarkable record: Since the Refugee Act was signed in 1980, not a single American life has been lost in a terrorist attack perpetrated by someone who came through the USA refugee resettlement program.
The order also directs the Secretary of State to prioritise admission of refugees claiming religion-based persecution "if the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality".
"I think the most patriotic thing we can do as Americans is to welcome persecuted people from other countries and help them start new lives here", said Chris George, Executive Director of IRIS.
UNHCR said in a statement Monday that it estimates that 800 refugees were set to travel this week alone, but have been barred from entry following Trump's executive order signed Friday.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said Mr Trump's "harmful and hasty" decision would impact thousands of innocent people, mostly women and children, awaiting resettlement to the US.
It came months after global outcry over the Republican's campaign pledge to implement a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States".
IOM and UNHCR said that they remained committed to working with the U.S. administration towards a shared goal of ensuring "safe and secure resettlement and immigration programs". Staff have been reassuring refugees who are already here that they will not be deported. In fact, many refugees who have been admitted to the U.S., from Syria or elsewhere, are the victims of terrorism.