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U.N. agencies urge U.S. to welcome refugees following executive action

Daniel Uria

United States President Donald Trump signs executive orders in the Hall of Heroes at the Department of Defense in Virginia, January 27, 2017. The United Nations refugee agency and International Organization for Migration urged the United States administration to continue to accept refugees after Trump's order to temporarily suspend visas from countries such as Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq.Pool photo by Olivier Douliery/UPI
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The United Nations refugee agency and International Organization for Migration urged the United States to continue accepting refugees following President Donald Trump's refugee order.
A joint statement released by the two agencies on Saturday called on Trump's administration to uphold the U.S. resettlement program which it hailed as "one of the most important in the world."
"Resettlement places provided by every country are vital. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, hope that the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution," the statement said.
The statement by the agencies comes a day after Trump signed an executive order suspending visa applications for migrants from terror-sponsoring countries and other areas of concern such as Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq for four months and banning entry into the country for 90 days.
Trump said the order will allow his administration time to develop a more thorough vetting process for establishing visas.
The UNHCR and IOM said they remain committed to working with the U.S. to ensure safe and secure resettlement and immigration programs during this period where the needs of refugees and migrants have "never ben greater."
"We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race," the agencies said. "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."

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