A 4-year-old Somali refugee was reunited with her family in Minnesota Thursday after more than three years apart.
Mushkaad Abdi arrived at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday afternoon, days after President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees from entering the United States threatened her long-planned arrival.
“I don’t like the executive order,” said U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who advocated for Mushkaad to be allowed to enter the United States. “This isn’t who we are. We’re a country that takes refugees — we always have.”
Mushkaad’s mother, Samira Dahir, and two older sisters have been living in Minnesota since 2013. Mushkaad had been living in Uganda.
Franken’s office has been working on Mushkaad’s case since June, after learning that she had been separated from her family and that a family friend caring for her in Uganda could no longer do so. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota agreed in August to sponsor Mushkaad, and she was expected to arrive in the United States on Jan. 31.
Trump’s order issued Jan. 27 threw a wrench into those plans. The order temporarily bans refugees and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, including Somalia, from entering the United States. Trump has said the order is to safeguard the nation, but it has prompted protests across the country.
On Tuesday, the Customs and Border Protection agency’s website showed updated information about the executive order: Refugees with family in the United States would be considered on a case-by-case basis.
That same day, Franken said, he mentioned Mushkaad in a phone conversation with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and asked that she be allowed to reunite with her family.
“I think [Kelly] was very, very helpful. He was very open to it,” Franken said. “He came through, and we’re very grateful.”
Mushkaad arrived in Minnesota by way of Abu Dhabi and Chicago, according to a Franken spokesman. Her family could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
“I am so glad that Mushkaad is now safe at home in the United States with her mother, Samira, and her two sisters,” said U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who also advocated for Mushkaad and her family.
“However, we know 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.”