ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — President Donald Trump’s comments about refugees during his campaign rally in Duluth Wednesday are generating a lot of strong reaction.
“Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp and he said that. Overwhelming public resources, overcrowding schools, and inundating your hospitals. You know that. It’s already there, its a disgrace, what they have done to your state, it’s absolutely a disgrace.,” President Trump said.
Suud Olat was a child refugee from Somalia. Now, he’s a Minneapolis community organizer and weighed in on the president’s comments.
“No one wants to be a refugee. I didn’t want to be a refugee. It was not my decision. Because of the foreign policy of the United States and those other countries, that’s why people are fleeing from their own countries.”
He said many immigrants are forced to leave their homelands for safety reasons.
“There’s war in those countries and those people flee. So when they come to the United States legally, it’s you as an American to believe that, they are just like people like you. They come like your parents came from Europe,” Olat said.
Abdulahi Farah, is a part of the Minnesota Muslim Coalition of Faith in Minneapolis. He also comes from a family of Kenyan refugees. He said immigrants do more than just take up space.
“For us to be ‘crowding,’ Those are ignorant words. He really doesn’t know what he is talking about. And we have immigrant communities that are actually making Minnesota what it is today and contributing to our economy. And also working in our health care facilities,” Farah said.
Farah said Trump’s comments have impacted his 9 year old daughter.
“She asks me, ‘Dad why does he not like us? What did we do to him?'”
Farah said when he was younger, kids his age would look up to the president. But now, he feels kids in this generation can’t.
“For her to be like. ‘this guy is not a good guy,’ its really sad. And that’s the moment that we are living in,” said Farah. “And I hope that this will be in history as something that we move from as a country.”
Rally goers also booed when Trump said there is a high number of refugees coming into the state.
“700% increase refugees coming from the most dangerous places in the world including Yemen, Syria, and your favorite country Somalia,” said Trump.
Many people felt his comments could encourage acts of hate.
“What do you think about young Somalis who were watching the president last night? Someone can take a gun and attack those [Somali] people. And where did they hear this information? From the President of the United States,” Olat said.
Farah said in 2016 The president came to Minnesota and made similar comments about Somalis. And following those remarks his mosque in Bloomington received threats.
“We’ve gotten many calls and harassment calls at the mosque. And we kind of thought, ‘this is kind of getting serious,’ because there was another mosque that was burned in Texas. And a few months later in 2017 in Bloomington, my mosque was bombed. And when that happened that’s when we had more of a reawakening to claim our voice and to not treat this scapegoating and these types of words lightly,” Farah said.
And if Farah could talk to the president he would say, “I would tell him to grow up. And know that we are voters and we a part of Minnesota. And no matter what you say you cannot divide us from our neighbors, you cannot divide is from our friends and family.”
Olat had a message for people who agree with the president’s words.
“Those people who the president is saying awful things about are Americans just like you. He’s not a leader. He’s deceptive. Do not listen to him. At the end of the day, you are an American, and I am an American.”
The president also made negative comments about Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.
“She’s telling us how to run our country. How did you, where you came from? How is your country doing?”
Rally goers responded by chanting “lock her up.” Omar responded to the comments on twitter.
“It is no surprise that he is so fearful of winning Minnesota that he has to resort to this hate. Because what he knows is that the Democratic power in Minnesota runs through turnout in the Fifth Congressional District. And we are going to make sure not only does he not win Minnesota but that he doesn’t get back to the White House,” said Omar.
On Friday in Minneapolis, there will be a rally against hate of immigrants, Muslims, and Somalis. The event is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Cedar Riverside Apartments.