Many Democrats decried the move as “un-American.”
“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty tonight as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon,” said Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader.
Theresa May refuses to condemn US refugee ban
Theresa May refused to condemn Mr Trump’s decision when she appeared at a joint press conference with Binali Yıldırım, the prime minister of Turkey, following a meeting in Ankara.
Asked by Faisal Islam, the political editor of Sky News, whether she viewed it as an “action of the leader of the free world,” the Prime Minister replied that she had been “very pleased” to have met Mr Trump in Washington.
She proceeded to praise Britain’s record on refugees, but avoided commenting on US policy.
“The United States is responsible for the United States policy on refugees,” she said when pressed on the issue a second time.
Mr Yıldırım, commenting on the same issue, said UN members “cannot turn a blind eye to this issue and settle it by constructing walls”.
France, Germany and Luxembourg also voiced disquiet at the decision.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Foreign Minister said many of Trump’s decisions worried the two U.S. allies, including new immigration restrictions.
“This can only worry us, but there are many subjects that worry us,” Mr Ayrault said at a joint news conference in Paris with Sigmar Gabriel, his German counterpart.
“Welcoming refugees who flee war and oppression is part of our duty,” he added.
Mr Gabriel said: “The United States is a country where Christian traditions have an important meaning. Loving your neighbour is a major Christian value, and that includes helping people.”
The United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on Donald Trump’s administration to continue offering asylum to people fleeing war and persecution, saying its resettlement programme was vital.
“The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater and the U.S. resettlement programme is one of the most important in the world,” the two Geneva-based agencies said in a joint statement.
“We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” they said.
The agencies hoped “that the US will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution”.
Some 25,000 refugees were resettled in the United States between October and year-end under UNHCR’s programme for the most vulnerable, the agency said on Friday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would file a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the executive order on Monday.
“There is no evidence that refugees – the most thoroughly vetted of all people entering our nation – are a threat to national security,” said Lena Masri, the group’s director of National Litigation.