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Sahan Journal Sahan Sunday Newsletter September 2023

Sahan Journal Sahan Sunday July 2023

Date received:
July 2, 2023

St. Cloud trucker can reunite with family in Ethiopia

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A lawsuit helps a Minnesota man with family stuck in an Ethiopian refugee camp.

St. Paul, MN

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Dear Sahan Journal reader,

Earlier this year, I wrote about Rabi Mohamed, a a 35-year-old Somali refugee in St. Cloud who sued the federal government for unnecessarily delaying his request to sponsor his family’s immigration to the U.S. For more than seven years, Rabi has been away from his wife and three young children who live in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He has been able to visit only once and hasn’t even met his youngest son, who’s now 4 years old.

About a month later, in May, I ran into Rabi’s attorney at a conference in Washington D.C. She let me know that she’d seen some traction to his case, but that other families had expressed similar roadblocks in the family reunification process.

Just a few weeks after Rabi filed his lawsuit, federal immigration services approved his family reunification petition. Rabi’s attorney told me that she believes this bureaucratic shift happened because of all the attention brought on by the lawsuit—and by the media (that’s us!).

Of course, thousands and thousands of immigration cases, just as compelling as Rabi’s, languish with minimal legal assistance and no media attention at all. And even for Rabi, the petition approval cleared only the first step in the process.

Rabi Mohamed (left), a 35-year-old Somali refugee and truck driver in St. Cloud, has lived apart from his wife and three kids for more than seven years. His request to sponsor his family’s immigration was recently approved after he sued the federal government for putting his request on hold.
Credit: Courtesy of Rabi Mohamed
Now, a (literal) paper copy of his case will float through the complex mailing lines between the federal government and U.S. embassy in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Rabi’s wife and children will have to undergo an overseas processing procedure that includes an interview, embassy appearances, security checks, and medical exams. Each step may encounter delays, Rabi’s attorney said. Across the world, a growing backlog of family reunification cases are mostly stuck at this stage.

As Rabi spent another Eid without his family this week, he said he is still joyful and already planning for his family’s arrival—even if he has to wait a bit longer.

You can read more about Rabi, as well as our other coverage this week, in the newsletter below.

Peace and blessings,

Hibah Ansari
Sahan Journal reporter

St. Cloud man’s request to sponsor family’s immigration granted, but reunification could take years. Rabi Mohamed has been trying for seven years to sponsor his family’s immigration from an Ethiopian refugee camp to Minnesota. Read more.

Victims’ families call for independent investigation into Minneapolis crash that killed 5. The Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations says the families of five young women who were killed by a speeding driver have received conflicting information from authorities. Read more.

Minneapolis City Council divided over how Muslim members were excluded from rent control vote. Confusion, miscommunication, and a lack of planning led three Muslim council members to miss an important vote while they were celebrating Eid al-Adha. Read more.

The Minneapolis City Council voted Wednesday to kill work on a proposed rent control ordinance without input from three Muslim council members who were absent because of the holiday, Eid al-Adha.
Credit: Aaron Nesheim | Sahan Journal
Hmong International Freedom Festival returns to St. Paul’s Como Park this weekend. The festival that began decades ago as a small, unofficial gathering of community members is now in its 41st year. Read more.

Your weekend guide: Arts events in the Twin Cities. See paintings by an Afro-Indigenous artist, artwork from children’s books, and papermaking traditions from across the world. Check it out.

ChangeMakers: Jeong Eun Park’s cabaret troupe by and for transgender people. The Minneapolis-based therapist organizes the performing troupe Transcendence Cabaret under the name “Eun Bee Yes.” The shows he pulls together highlight trans, nonbinary, and two-spirit performers. Read more.
Tenants of Columbia Heights complex struggle with rent after double-digit hike last year. Property manager, Dominium, raised rents at the affordable housing complex, The Legends of Columbia Heights, by 12.5 percent last year, and many tenants are bracing for a potential hike this year. Read more.

Rooftop solar atop affordable apartments in Minneapolis connects residents to savings. A partnership between Beacon Interfaith Housing and Cooperative Energy Futures is bringing rooftop solar-power benefits to low-income apartments in the Twin Cities. Read more.

The Supreme Court just killed affirmative action. What does that mean for Minnesota students of color? The Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. Some selective Minnesota colleges will have to reconfigure their admissions policies. But many diverse state schools already admit students without considering race in the process. Here’s what it means for diverse students of color.

The Supreme Court rejects Biden’s plan to wipe away $400 billion in student loans. A sharply divided Supreme Court has ruled that the Biden administration overstepped its authority in trying to cancel or reduce student loans for millions of Americans. Read more.

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