The International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid and refugee assistance group, called Trump’s decision to suspend refugee admissions “harmful and hasty” and noted that the US refugee program “makes it harder to get to the United States as a refugee than any other route.” Refugees must undergo an extensive vetting process — it typically takes more than two years to be admitted to the US as a refugee.
“In truth, refugees are fleeing terror — they are not terrorists,” David Miliband, the group’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “And at a time when there are more refugees than ever, America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, expressed concern about the provision in Trump’s executive order that would prioritize Christians fleeing persecution and conflict in Muslim-majority countries over Muslims fleeing those same countries. “We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” UNHCR and IOM said in a joint statement Saturday.
Abed Ayoub, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee‘s legal and policy director, said Trump’s executive order has sown “complete chaos.” He said his group has already fielded calls from people around the world impacted by Trump’s executive order, including from students and legal US residents who are citizens of the seven countries banned by Trump and are now stuck overseas.
Democrats also slammed Trump’s executive order, arguing his action establishing a religious test for entry is unconstitutional and un-American.
Jewish groups took particular exception to the day on which Trump signed the executive order: Holocaust Remembrance Day.