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Minnesota Lawmakers Push Back On Trump's Immigration Orders

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Strong reaction in Minnesota to executive orders signed today by President Donald Trump.

The president signed the order to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and remove federal funding for sancutary cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, which don't arrest or detain immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

Another executive order from the president will set much tougher restrictions on foreigners trying to get into the country, issuing a month-long ban on any immigrant from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen. It also will refuse refugee admissions for 120 days while previous admissions are reviewed. It also makes deep cuts into the total number of people allowed

Thousands of Somali immigrants have settled in Minneapolis neighborhoods, many of them escaping terrorism, they say, not causing it.

"We are not the problem, we are the solution," Abdi Bihi of the Somali Advocacy Center said.

Bihi says he's fielding questions from families now worried about bringing loved ones to the United States, and frustrated that they're viewed with suspicion as possible terrorists.

"And the community feels betrayed that we are all characterized as bad people," he said.

State officials are expressing alarm at the orders Trump signed today, some calling it "racist." Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says she'll defy the President, who's threatening to withhold federal funding from cities which don't detain illegal immigrants.

"Donald Trump is doing his best to punish cities that have separation ordinances by threatening funding to cities. That is a big problem," she said. "As long as I stand as Mayor, he's going to have to get through me."

Minnesota is home to nearly half a million immigrants, most of them from Mexico, India, Laos, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The chairman of the Minnesota House Public Safety Committee -- Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Blue Earth County) says he welcomes legal immigrants, but for safety reasons, he supports a wall and restrictions on foreigners from countries with links to terrorism.

"You look at other countries -- what they failed to do and suffered afterward. Now they are playing catch up," he said. "I think a strong vetting of people like that is a good idea."

Hodges says the ordinance will not change despite the loss of federal funding, which she says can run into the tens of millions of dollars.

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