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Minneapolis protest rejects Trump’s expansion of Muslim ban to six new countries

By Brad Sigal |
February 2, 2020
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Meredith Aby.
Meredith Aby. (Brad Sigal)
Jaylani Hussein.
Jaylani Hussein.

Minneapolis, MN - More than 50 people protested Saturday, February 1, outside the Federal Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis to condemn Donald Trump adding six more countries to his administration’s travel ban.

The protest was called by the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota (CAIR) just a day earlier and was endorsed by the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota, Black Immigrant Collective, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), Anti-War Committee, among others.

The Minneapolis protest was emceed by Jaylani Hussein of CAIR-MN. State Attorney General Keith Ellison and former State Representative Erin Murphy spoke at the rally, as did leaders from the ACLU, Immigrant Law Center, Anti-War Committee, Black Immigrant Collective, RISE and others.

On January 31, the Trump administration announced they intend to ban people Nigeria, Eritrea, Myanmar and Kyrgyzstan from coming to work or live in the U.S., while people from Tanzania and Sudan would be banned from applying for the visa lottery. The new ban would take effect on February 22. Minnesota has many residents from Eritrea and Myanmar whose families would be affected by the ban. This is in addition to people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, north Korea and Venezuela who remain subject to the first Muslim ban.

Speakers emphasized that this ban deepens the Islamophobic policies of this administration. Jaylani Hussein recalled that it was Trump himself who repeatedly called for a Muslim ban during his electoral campaign but was forced to stop using that language when courts made clear that would not stand. Hussein dared him to again be forthright in calling these policies what they truly are. Many speakers also made clear that this expansion of the ban is focused on African countries, including Africa’s most populous country of Nigeria, so in addition to being a Muslim ban it is also a racist Africa ban.

President Trump’s initial Muslim ban provoked mass protests at airports around the country in 2017. That ban was tied up in courts until the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow it to go into effect. With this announcement of an expansion it is clear that this administration will not be content with any victories they win - every inch they advance just encourages them to take a mile. Speakers reinforced the need to continue to protest racist and Islamophobic policies.