Newswire: An alarming rise in deportations for Somali-Americans in Minnesota



 Somali family in Minneasota

( – As bombs rain down on Mogadishu, officers of the U.S. immigration service have been stalking the Somali expat community in Minnesota, snatching suspected immigrants without documents to the distress of families there.
Among those recently placed on a plane bound for Somalia was Mohamed Hussein, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio. Hussein arrived in Minnesota as an infant more than 20 years ago. Somalia is a country he’s never seen and where he knows no one.
After reporting for a regular check-in with federal officials last September, Hussein was unexpectedly detained, transferred to a Louisiana detention center and then bundled into a plane in shackles for deportation. Fortunately, the planeload of 91 men and women, including 10 from Minnesota, was made to return to the U.S. due to staffing issues in Senegal.
Also rescued from the ill-fated flight was Mayo Clinic cardiovascular technician Abdoulmalik Ibrahim, a married father of four who are all U.S. citizens. Immigration lawyers are seeking to have his case reopened.
“It gives hopefully some additional time. We always hope for the best, but we are prepared for the worst,” said Kimberly Hunter, a Twin Cities immigration attorney representing Mayo Clinic employee Abdoulmalik Ibrahim.
Under a deportation order since 2004 for entering the U.S. without documentation seeking asylum, Ibrahim was presumably under a “protective status” before his detention.
Minnesota immigration lawyers are now scrambling to get emergency stays for Hussein and other Somali clients who’ve been ordered deported by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“We believe (Ibrahim) has a claim to protection,” said attorney Kimberley Hunter, citing the presence of al Shabab, a terrorist group that continues to carry out attacks in the country. “Quite honestly, I think the removal of Somalis in general is inhumane.”
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials deported 512 Somalis from around the country from October 2016 through September 2017, compared to 198 during the same period a year earlier, according to the agency’s data.
A majority of those deported in the 2017 fiscal year happened under the Trump administration, lawyers say.

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Lawmakers to fight U. S. foreign aid cuts to Somalia

Somali child
   Impoverished Somali child
Apr. 24, 2017 (GIN) – Plans to slash foreign aid to Somalia now at the brink of famine would hurt humanitarian relief efforts and programs to curb terrorism, say local lawmakers from Minnesota.

Speaking in Minneapolis at a forum on the drought situation in the Horn of Africa, U.S. Representative Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) decried the administration’s proposed 31-percent cut in foreign aid. “Terrorist groups like al-Shabab have demonstrated a history of capitalizing on this type of crisis and we can’t allow that to be the case today,” he said.

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) said the U.S. needs to help drought and famine victims in their own country, before they are forced to flee. “We have so many people here from Somalia that have relatives and friends, and when you don’t help people in their own country it kind ends up on your shores anyway,” she said.

A recent review by General Thomas Waldhauser, head of US Africa Command, acknowledged a rise in piracy off the Somali coast partially fueled by drought and famine. At least half a dozen attacks have occurred in the last month, he said.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also expressed concerns about the resurgence of Somali piracy during his recent visit to the American military base in Djibouti. Last month, an oil tanker was hijacked by suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia, the first such hijacking in the region in five years.

At the same time, some 40 U.S. troops are being readied for travel to Somalia to play a support role training the Somali National Army to create efficient logistics networks to supply their troops. “This is part of a routine deployment that has been really in the works for quite some time,” Gen. Waldhauser said.

Somalia and its international partners are working to train a 28,000-person national army after more than two decades of civil war and turmoil. The insurgent group al-Shabab still controls an estimated 10 percent of the country and conducts regular attacks against military and civilian targets. Somalia relies largely on the 22,000-person African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for its security.

About three million Somalis face food insecurity and a national disaster was declared last month.