Sens. Franken, Klobuchar attack Trump’s immigrant ban

Published 10:16 am Monday, January 30, 2017

By Julio Ojeda-Zapata

St. Paul Pioneer Press

Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar on Sunday morning spoke out against President Donald Trump’s executive order to block citizens from seven Muslim countries, and 1st District Rep. Tim Walz has also spoken out against the ban.

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“This is not our country,” Franken said. Klobuchar called the executive order, which has caused chaos across the country and the world, “irresponsible and unconscionable.”

Trump’s highly controversial order suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and bars all immigration for 90 days from seven Muslim-majority countries with terrorism concerns: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those now being barred from the country include refugees who have already been thoroughly vetted by U.S. agencies.

Some meeting the executive order’s criteria have been detained at U.S. airports upon arriving on flights from abroad.



A federal judge issued an emergency order Saturday night temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting such people, as the Trump administration has wanted to do.

The senators, at a St. Paul press conference, appeared with Samira Dahir, a Somali refugee who had been expecting her 4-year-old daughter, Mushkaad, to join her later this week. The child’s scheduled trip from Kampala, Uganda, is now up in the air.

Dahir appeared at the press conference with two other daughters, Muwatib, 8, and Mumtaz, 7, who stood smiling beside Klobuchar as she spoke about them.

“I believe in thorough vetting and strong national security measures,” Klobuchar said. “But you don’t create chaos, and you don’t do it on the backs of these little girls who are waiting for their 4-year-old sister to come in. These are the little faces right here, (the girls) in these pink jackets, and it’s a 4-year-old.”

Mumtaz had an innocent question to ask at the lectern: “Who’s Domald Trump?”

Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar

The two girls “are not exactly quite aware of all the politics and what is going on … but they are quickly becoming aware,” Klobuchar said.

Dahir, who has lived in Minneapolis since 2013, said she has felt her life upended.

“I don’t know what is happening,” she said in a telephone interview. “The situation has changed. I wish I can get my daughter, but I fear she is not coming. I am so sad, you know.”

Asked what she would tell Trump if she met him, she said, “Please, I beg you to help my daughter. We want to stay together in the United States.”

John Keller, executive director of the St. Paul-based Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, said the executive order looks to have a profound impact on Minnesota. The agency, which provides free legal help to immigrants and refugees, has clients from 104 countries who live in 85 percent of Minnesota’s counties.

Besides, it’s not only immigrants and refugees who are affected, Keller said at the press conference, but other Minnesota residents over the long term.

He quoted a recent Humphrey Institute study estimating that Minnesota will need a nearly five-fold increase in immigration to maintain its current level of economic growth as the existing population ages.

Trump’s executive order “takes us in the direction of being unwelcoming,” Keller said. “It takes us in the direction of being hurtful not just to immigrants and refugees but all the rest of us whose lives and economic futures are mutually codependent.”

Other Minnesotans in positions of power on Sunday weighed in on Trump’s executive order.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, speaking about those being detained as a result of the order, said this practice “violates the Constitution, contradicts 200 years of American history, and undermines national security.”

Swanson said her office will assist any legal action taken on behalf of a detainee located in Minnesota.

Sixteen other attorneys general, all Democrats, have condemned Trump’s immigration order.

“The safety and security of the American people is our highest national imperative, but President Trump’s executive order on Friday not only puts our men and women in uniform at greater risk overseas, it fundamentally contradicts our nation’s values,” said Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat, in a statement.

“By unilaterally shutting America’s door on those fleeing war and persecution in hope of a better life in the United States, we break the promise of our fundamental principle: that our nation is enriched by those who come from different lands, who bring their talents, their hopes and their hunger for freedom,” Walz went on. “This type of blanket discrimination is shameful and morally reprehensible. It’s not who we are as Americans, and it’s not who we are as Minnesotans.”
—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.