Trump's executive order leaves some Willmar residents concerned
WILLMAR -- A presidential order regarding immigration and travel has left many in Willmar's east African community upset and confused. An executive order signed by President Donald Trump Friday was a steady source of conversation over the weekend...
WILLMAR - A presidential order regarding immigration and travel has left many in Willmar's east African community upset and confused.
An executive order signed by President Donald Trump Friday was a steady source of conversation over the weekend, patrons of the Somali Star restaurant in downtown Willmar said Monday.
The executive order bars citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia, from entering the country for three months and bans refugee admissions into the country for four months.
Over the weekend, people who hold U.S. green cards - signifying they are permanent residents authorized to live and work here - were barred from returning to the country, though that restriction has since been lifted. Several federal judges have since granted temporary stays to prevent deportation of people with valid visas.
Many members of Willmar's east African community are citizens or have green cards. But they have family members still living in Africa or relatives who have arrived recently and haven't been here long enough to have a green card yet.
Muhumed Hassan, an elder in the local Somali community, said the order is creating chaos for communities. "America was a peaceful place people wanted to do," he said through an interpreter. Now, that could be changing, he added.
Hassan said he wonders if Trump is trying to convince Africans and others to leave the country on their own.
Hassan said he wants peace for his kids and a good place for them to grow up. He doesn't approve of violence.
A group of young men sat around a table and offered their views on recent news.
Mohamed Aden, who is a citizen, said he's worried about his brother who arrived from Africa recently and has not had time to get a green card yet.
Brothers Abdinajib Mire and Abdijabar Mire said their grandmothers live in Africa. They are both citizens and could visit Africa and come back, but not everyone in their family has become a citizen yet.
Some of the young men said they had thought everyone was confused by the executive order, not just Somalis.
They had thought Trump's rhetoric during the campaign was mostly for the campaign. "I was shocked" to see how quickly the new president moved to implement some of the things he talked about in the campaign, Abdijabar Mire said.
Aden said he feels that America's diversity is what makes it great, and Trump's targeting Muslim countries disappointed him. A president is supposed to be someone to look up to, he added.
His mother had been thinking about visiting Africa this summer, he said, but those plans may change, depending on what happens next.
Hassan and the others said they still find Willmar to be a peaceful, welcoming place.
"We all love Willmar," said Abdinajib Mire. "It's a hometown to us."