ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -
Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken spoke Sunday morning about an executive order by President Donald Trump that suspended immigration and admission of refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Though the White House stands by the executive order, Franken and Klobuchar said the order has caused chaos and impacts far more people than those detained at airports.
The order has sparked protests across the country, and outcry from elected dictators, in addition to the Minnesota senators. Franken and Klobuchar plan on speaking with the new Secretary of Homeland Security about how the order came about, and the process of drafting it.
At the press conference, the senators had the chance to meet with families who have already been impacted by the executive order.
“I’m here today because I’m terrified of the executive orders signed by the president of the United States,” said Suud Olat, a Somali refugee.
Olat has been in the United States for five years, and most of his family left a refugee camp in Kenya last month. His brother had planned to follow in February, but because of President Trump’s executive order, it is unlikely that will happen.
“I come to this country, it was not overnight,” said Olat. “My family waited in the process 10 years, and we were in that camp 25 years.”
Olat was one of many individuals and leaders of community groups who met with senators Franken and Klobuchar in St. Paul.
Klobuchar said she supports proper vetting, but believes the order is hurting families. One family in particular was split apart while a young girl waits in a refugee camp in Uganda.
“You don’t create chaos while you do it,” Klobuchar said at the conference. “And you don’t do it on the backs of these little girls right here, who are waiting on their four-year-old sister.”
On the Sunday morning Fox News talk show, Trump administration officials defended the order, saying it only impacted a small amount of people.
“I think in terms of the upside being greater protection of our borders, of our people, that it’s a small price to pay,” Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Sunday morning.
Franken and Klobuchar argued the order’s impact is far greater, and harms students and the state’s economy.
Olat said it also hurt those seeking a better life in this country.
“I want everyone to understand that refugees are not bringing harm,” said Olat. “But banning them and shutting them down of that small opportunity will bring more harm than good. And that will not make America great.”
The senators said the best way for the order to be modified is through pressure on the administration, including Republican lawmakers. They encouraged families and individuals who may be impacted by the ban to call their offices.