New Travel Ban Splits Minnesotans, Family in East Africa

March 15, 2017 03:47 PM

President Donald Trump's revised travel ban is set to go into effect Thursday. 

In its current form, the new ban would separate families in Minnesota from loved ones 8,000 miles away in Somalia, and in the world's largest refugee camp in Kenya. 


The United Nations Refugee Agency in Dadaab, Kenya, said thousands of people were affected by the ban. 

SEE ALSO: Hell to Heartland: Follow Farrah Fazal's stories and social media posts from her trip to the Horn of Africa

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS was able to put faces to the numbers of people who couldn't get to the U.S. 

A mother with eight children was supposed to come to Minnesota. And a father of several children was supposed to go to Kansas.

They both sold everything they had and gave up their tiny huts to go the airport. 

When the initial ban happened, they were sent back to Dadaab. They are now homeless and waiting to find out what will happen to their cases.

RELATED: Minnesota and Washington Attorneys General File Response to Revised Travel Ban Order

Abdullahi Geid was waiting for word on when he could get on a flight to the U.S. He wanted to be reunited with his half-sister in Minnesota. 

He said life in Dadaab is like living in an open prison. The Kenyan government doesn't allow Dadaab residents to go outside the walls of the camp. 

"I feel very sad, we live in the camp and we cannot go anywhere. We are just like animals," Geid said. 

RELATED: Trump Signs New Travel Ban Targeting Those Seeking New Visas

The connection between Somalia and Minnesota runs deep. Many Minnesotans left the state to return to Somalia and help rebuild their country. 

Recently, former DFL State Director Nimco Ahmed moved to Mogadishu and adopted a baby. Now, Ahmed's not allowed to bring her two-year-old toddler, Nasib, back to see her family in South Minneapolis because Nasib is a Somali national.

The president's travel ban does not allow foreign nationals from six Muslim majority countries to enter the U.S. Somalia is included in that group. 

Meanwhile, famine and drought are visible and deep across the Horn of Africa.

Dozens of people were seen walking up to 100 miles over several days, without food and water and carrying their children into Kismayo, Somalia. One woman who delivered a baby at a makeshift camp along the way continued with her husband to carry their three children 80 miles over four days. They said their goats and livestock were dying, and Al Shabaab took what little property they had.

Another mother said she carried her two paralyzed children until she found a donkey cart that could bring her the 100 miles into Kismayo.

Lawmakers said Al Shabaab made it impossible for them to get aid into the drought- and famine-affected areas. They also said if the U.N. and the world don’t act now, more people would starve to death and make this famine as deadly as the one in 2011 in which 200,000 children died.

The U.N. Secretary General said the famine and drought in Somalia and three other countries is the worst since 1945.


Farrah Fazal

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