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 now with her family in Minnesota.
Mushkaad Abdi gripped a doll and the hand of her mother, Samira Dahir, who wiped away tears Friday as she spoke to reporters about the reunion.
“I’m very happy today that my daughter, Mushkaad, is now home after painful years,” said Dahir, 32. “I would like to thank you everyone who helped me … I’m so happy. That’s why I’m crying.”
Dahir came to the U.S. in 2013 with her two older daughters. Prior to her arrival but after she was approved to enter the U.S. as a refugee, she gave birth to Mushkaad, her youngest daughter. Dahir was told she would have to choose to start the refugee application process all over again with her whole family, or leave the youngest girl behind and bring her to the U.S. later, said Maureen Warren, chief family services officer for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
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. Dahir told her naturalization teacher about the problem, and the teacher contacted U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s office.
Franken and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobochar spent months working with Dahir to expedite her daughter’s arrival.
Mushkaad was scheduled to arrive on Jan. 31, but her trip was canceled by Trump’s executive order banning refugees from certain countries. Franken and Klobuchar intervened and pressed Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to clear the girl’s travel.
Dahir and her older daughters are lawful permanent residents of the U.S. and Mushkaad is now in the U.S. as a refugee. She will be allowed to become a legal permanent resident in a year. But when Dahir becomes a U.S. citizen in the next year, her daughters will also become citizens, said Benjamin Casper Sanchez, director of the Center for New Americans at the University of Minnesota Law School.
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