4-Year-Old Somali Girl Reunited with Mom in Minnesota

By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A 4-year-old Somali girl whose long-awaited reunion with her mother was put on hold this week due to President Donald Trump’s travel ban is back with her family in Minnesota.

Mushkaad Abdi arrived in Minneapolis on Thursday and was reunited with her mother, Samira Dahir, and her two older sisters.

Dahir, 32, of Minneapolis, came to the U.S. in 2013 as a Somali refugee.

She told The Associated Press earlier this week that she was granted refugee status before she became pregnant with the girl. When Mushkaad was born Dahir had to face a gut-wrenching choice. She could either put her own resettlement and that of her two older daughters on hold for several more years and re-apply for refugee status with Mushkaad, or leave the little girl behind and try to bring her to the U.S. later.

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the relationship between a “principal refugee” and a child must have existed before the refugee was admitted to the U.S. or granted asylum. It notes specifically that a child must have been born or conceived before a refugee is allowed entry or granted asylum.

Dahir left Mushkaad with a friend in Uganda and has worked for years to bring her to Minnesota. The situation became more urgent months ago when the friend was no longer able to care for the girl.

Mushkaad was scheduled to arrive on Jan. 31, but her trip was canceled by Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain countries.

U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar intervened and pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to clear the girl’s travel.

“It’s been heart-wrenching for Samira and her two older daughters, who have waited to be reunited with Mushkaad since she was an infant. I’m very pleased that_after far too long of a separation_this Minnesota family is now together,” Franken said in a statement. “This case proves that President Trump’s Executive Order was poorly thought out, poorly executed, and above all wrong for Minnesota and the nation.”

Klobuchar added that the executive order caused chaos and its impact was felt by Minnesota families and businesses.

“I am so glad that Mushkaad is now safe at home in the United States with her mother, Samira, and her two sisters,” she said. “However, we know that Mushkaad is not the only child who was waiting to be reunited with their family and caught up in the aftermath of this order. I will continue to advocate to help families in the state.”

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Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/amy-forliti

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