Somali girl reunited with family after being barred from U.S. under Trump travel ban

Mushkaad Abdi is reunited on Thursday with her mother and sisters.
Mushkaad Abdi is reunited on Thursday with her mother Samira Dahir and sisters Muwahib and Mumtaz.
Courtesy of Sen. Franken's office

Updated: 8:55 p.m. | Posted: 7 p.m.

The last time Samira Dahir saw her daughter, Mushkaad Abdi, she was an infant.

Mushkaad, now 4 years old, was born in a refugee camp in Uganda and didn't get a visa to come to the U.S. along with her mother and two sisters.

She finally got the OK to come to the U.S. to join her family last summer. She was expected to arrive Tuesday.

But because Mushkaad is both Somali and a refugee, President Trump's executive order temporarily banning refugees initially prevented her from coming to the U.S.

The 4-year-old was stopped at the airport in Uganda, according to a court document.

In a statement, U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken said they pressed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to make an exception.

It was granted, and Dahir was reunited with her mother and sisters in Minneapolis on Thursday.

"It's a really great feeling when something so concrete and so wonderful happens," Franken said. "It's one of the things that really makes this job a great job."

Klobuchar said in a statement that "Mushkaad is not the only child who was waiting to be reunited with their family and caught up in the aftermath of this order. I will continue to advocate to help families in the state."

Mushkaad's story was mentioned in a lawsuit against Trump that Minnesota attorney general Lori Swanson joined. The suit calls the president's action unconstitutional and seeks to stop its enforcement.

Trump's order bans all refugees for four months and places restrictions on nearly all people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.

It sparked dread among Minnesota's Somali community, and confusion and chaos around the world.

When Dahir was pregnant with Mushkaad, she got visas approved for herself and her two other daughters to come to the U.S., according to the suit.

But those visas didn't cover Mushkaad. Dahir was told she'd have to restart the visa process for her whole family if she wanted one for her baby, the lawsuit said. So, the family was separated.

Last August, Mushkaad finally got cleared to enter the U.S.

Days before she was set to arrive, Trump's refugee ban came down.

The family got worried. They got in touch with Franken's office, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection put out some details on how the refugee ban would be implemented.

The customs agency said refugees with family in the U.S. may be considered on a case-by-case basis. So, Franken said he pushed Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, to let Mushkaad in.

On Wednesday, Mushkaad got cleared for entry.

Thursday, the family was back together in Minneapolis.

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