MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -
President Trump signed multiple executive orders on Friday and Saturday, but one in particular had an immediate impact on refugees and immigrants, causing an outcry from Minnesota’s immigrant communities.
“The executive order signed by President Trump is discriminatory,” Representative Jerry Nadler of New York said at a news conference at JFK International Airport on Saturday.
The executive order getting the most attention tonight leaves dozens in immigration limbo, and thousands more calling for change. The Trump administration has closed borders to refugees from all over the world, suspending immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries.
"Dozens and dozens of people remain in airport detention nationwide," said Becka Heller, Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project. “Simply because they were unlucky enough to get on a plane the day Trump signed the executive order."
At New York’s JFK International Airport, 11 travelers have been detained, and concern in Minnesota continues to grow.
Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of Minnesota’s Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, told reporters, “it’s a shocking surprise, and it’s really un-American.”
One of the countries on the immigration black list is Somalia, causing confusion and fear among Minnesota’s large and growing Somali population.
"This is not going to make us safe,” said Hussein. “The idea that this plan is going to make us safe, it's actually the opposite. It will fuel our enemies, give them propaganda."
Over the last 24 hours, lawmakers have been trying to understand what the order could potentially mean for immigrants. Senator Al Franken is one of them. After flying back to Minnesota from Washington on Friday, one of his first stops was a mostly Somali classroom.
"I talked to them and said, 'you are Americans,'” said Franken. “Don't be afraid, you are Americans."
President Trump signed the order as part of a pledge to combat what he called “Islamic terror,” but tonight many Democrats and Republicans are calling the decision “un-American.”
Among the high profile Republicans to oppose the refugee ban is former Vice President Dick Cheney, and he is joined by nearly every Democrat holding elected office.