Franken meets Somali girl caught up in travel ban

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

(CNN) US Sen. Al Franken has met with a young Somali girl whose reunion with her mother was delayed by President Donald Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from seven countries.

Mushkaad Abdi, 4, had been separated from her mother and older sisters since she was just a few months old.

She finally got a visa to come to the United States, but President Trump signed the executive order barring citizens of seven countries, including Somalia, from entering the country, before she could rejoin her family in Minnesota.

Mushkaad was allowed to come to the United States and rejoin her family on February 2, after a couple of anxious days.

Franken, among those who championed the reunion, met Mushkaad for the first time on Thursday and tweeted a picture of the little girl laughing while shaking his hand.

“Mushkaad is one of the reasons I pledge to keep fighting against travel bans that are wrong for Minnesota and our nation,” Franken said in another tweet.

Mushkaad’s mother, Samira Dahir, had just gotten a visa for herself and her two other daughters when Mushkaad was born. She would have had to start the immigration process over if she remained in Somalia, so she decided to leave Mushkaad with a family friend and bring her two other daughters to the United States. It ended up taking years to secure the visa.

Travel ban challenged

Federal courts blocked the original travel ban last month.

The Trump administration issued a revised order on March 6, that removed Iraq from the list of Muslim-majority countries covered by the ban.

The order, which was set to take effect on March 16, barred foreign nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days and all refugees for 120 days.

A US District Judge in Hawaii on Wednesday blocked the new travel ban, just hours before it was scheduled to go into effect.