MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One of President Donald Trump’s executive orders is implementing major changes to the United States’ immigration policy.
As a result, some passengers arriving to domestic airports were detained Saturday.
Other would-be travelers were turned away before boarding flights bound for the U.S.
Sen. Al Franken is responding to these major changes, and says there has not been a refugee in the United States who has committed a terrorist act.
“It’s a shame. And again, if you look at the countries on this list you are seeing countries where, one, people here in Minnesota have family members, two, you have people in Iraq who really put their lives on the line for our country, for our troops and this is wrong,” Franken said.
He says refugees from the banned countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — already go through a tough vetting process, and most people coming from Syria are women and children.
“Taking people who are fleeing persecution has been what this country is all about, and being a pluralistic society is what our country is about and is the strength of this country,” Franken said.
Rep. Betty McCollum released a statement about the ban Saturday, calling it “cruel.”
“President Trump’s executive order … betrays our value as Americans, and does nothing to enhance national security,” McCollum said. “It is a sad irony that President Trump’s actions came on Holocaust Remembrance Day, when we also reckon with America’s refusal – out of sheer religious bigotry – to welcome refugees fleeing the Nazi regime. President Trump’s decision adds to a new chapter to that national shame.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar also spoke out against Trump’s executive order in a statement Saturday.
“I have long advocated for thorough vetting and have supported strong national security measures, but it is irresponsible and unconscionable to exclude entire populations from seeking refuge here, simply because of where they come from or what religion they practice,” Klobuchar said.
“Refugees strengthen our communities. In Minnesota, we are proud to have the largest Somali, Liberian and Oromo populations in the U.S. as well as the second largest Hmong population. They are police officers and small business owners, students and teachers. They have often fled desperate and dangerous situations, and, as legal workers, have been an important part of our economy and society. We cannot turn our back on them.”
The first Somali-American elected to serve as a Minnesota state representative, Ilhan Omar has friends and family members she says are in limbo now. For people on a mission to find the American Dream, she feels the travel ban is like a nightmare.
“A day like this is very scary,” Omar said. “Most of the refugees that are arriving are not that much different from the immigrants of our forefathers.”
At an event hosted by the nonprofit RightWay Minnesota called a Celebration of Law and Order, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek commended Trump for making many changes he promised in his first week in office.
“Hennepin County is 1.3 million people, it is extremely diverse, becomes more diverse every single day,” Stanek said. “We welcome people, we welcome the diversity in our county, the new immigrants. All we’ve ever asked is the proper vetting of them.”
Dozens of people protested the ban at MSP Airport Saturday night, but the demonstration was not expected to last long as the group did not get a permit.
Airport officials said they do not know of anyone being detained at MSP at this time.