Mandy Patinkin has said politicians are breaking “the law of humanity” in their failure to support refugees and said xenophobia is a “a tool as old as the hills” used to get elected.

The Homeland actor blasted the Trump administration for decreasing the number of Syrian refugees it admits and blamed a “false fear factor”.

He told the PA news agency: “There are about 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Jordan and for every 1,000, the US right now is taking one.

“There is talk about trying to make next year ‘zero’, I honestly don’t understand it.

“I don’t understand how my current president has a partner, a wife, who is an immigrant, a famous immigrant, who he had a child with (Melania Trump is from Slovenia). Where is his thinking?

“It’s not just moral, ethical, right or wrong, it’s the law of humanity to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

“If you don’t open the door when someone comes knocking, no-one will be there to open the door for you.

“This isn’t a game, a fictional thing like a television show, these are people’s lives.”

The actor, who recently visited the refugee camps near the Syrian border in Jordan with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), added: “They could stay there forever if the diplomatic community doesn’t work together globally in this inter-connected world.”

He added: “I’ve been making these trips with the IRC since 2015 when I did my first one and I am never not changed by what happens to myself or my wife or my son Isaac, who went on one with me.

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America said welcome to both my family and Kathryn’s – and that’s why we’re alive. In my worst days, I think of refugees who have risked their lives to find safety and of the difficulty they face and it makes me alive. They inspire me. @theirc has been my teacher in showing me stories all over the world. When you see places like Palermo and Uganda where they’re giving welcome, you realize that’s the way the world should be. And realize that’s what you want to share with the world. We’re here to live and take care of each other. When given the chance, refugees thrive. Please visit the link in my bio for more information on IRC’s work across Europe and how you can help at this critical time. 📷: @vignetteglobal

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“We in the United States and the UK and the European Union have to find way to support the nations that are taking the brunt of the crisis.”

Asked to what he attributes the drive to reduce the numbers of refugees taken in, he said: “Xenophobia, and it’s a tool as old as the hills to get elected.

“If I tell you who to be afraid of and I convince you there is something you need to be afraid of and if you vote for me, I will keep you safe.

“So you make a false fear factor and when those false fear factors are human beings’ lives…

“For me, that is one of the great crimes against humanity, there is no place for it.

“It’s being seen all over the world right now and it’s using false fear to gin up a political process that isn’t based on reality.”

He added: “There are lives being lost as we speak because of conflict, there are people who need to be rescued, there are countries who are doing the rescuing and taking the burden way past richer nations that are seemingly ignoring their burden, so making these countries like Greece, like Jordan, like Italy, wonder: if you don’t care why should we?

“We need to let them know we do care, we need to help support them. It really isn’t a political matter, it’s a matter of life and death.”