During a rally in Minnesota on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump reiterated that he would block refugee resettlement in the United States — and specifically targeted the Somali communities in the state.
“Here in Minnesota you have seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state, without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” Trump said against the backdrop of an airport hangar at the Minneapolis International Airport.
“You’ve suffered enough in Minnesota,” he added.
Worth your time. Trump's thoughts on Somali refugees in Minnesota: "And everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota." pic.twitter.com/BYFdNmj2UO
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) November 6, 2016
Criticizing Minnesota’s Somali community is familiar ground for Trump, who has previously gone after the more than 70,000–strong Somali community living in the state. In August, Trump suggested that Somali refugees have turned the state into a hotbed for terror recruitment, drawing condemnation from community members and politicians fiercely welcoming of Minnesota’s immigrant population.
Although nine Somali youths who intended to join the terror group ISIS in Syria have been arrested in Minnesota since 2014, there’s not much evidence overall to support Trump’s dire predictions.
On the whole, Somalis in Minnesota work in occupations that aim to help all Americans, with anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 African-owned businesses in the state. According to an economic study, the buying power of the wider African immigrant community is estimated to be $800 million annually in just the Twin Cities. Many Somali-Americans contribute to the American way of life. On Tuesday, Ilhan Omar may become the first Somali-American to be elected to a state legislature in the United States. Omar fled civil war as a child from Somalia and lived in a Kenya refugee camp before moving to Minneapolis.
Trump may not have realized it, but many Somali-American people may have indirectly helped his campaign run a smooth rally on Sunday. About 1,000 Somalis work at the airport where Trump’s rally was held, ensuring that critical operations run efficiently on a daily basis.
But Trump’s comments on Sunday are ultimately just the latest salvo against immigrants and refugees from a presidential candidate who has previously proposed a restrictive ban on Muslim immigration and refugee resettlement from countries that have dealt with terrorist attacks.