Part of President’s Travel Ban Impacts Des Moines Refugees

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  On Monday, the Supreme Court decided to hear travel ban arguments this fall, but until then, part of President Trump's travel ban is in place.

"I think the government has to think twice about restraining," said Des Moines resident Siat Bulle.

People in Des Moines Somali community worry about what’s next.

"We are not happy about the travel ban to our country, especially we, the Somali community, who have their parents and family back in Somalia," Bulle said.

The Supreme Court says people with a bona fide relationship to a person of entity in the U.S.--like a student or working professional--are allowed to travel, but there is a 120-day ban on everyone else.

"We also have to remember that refugees fleeing persecution have a bona fide interest to protect their lives and their loved ones," said Ashir Omar of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

People like Abdi Abdi, who is a citizen and has lived in Des Moines for ten years, says because of the travel ban his entire family won’t be together.

"My wife, she can’t come in here. She can’t because of the travel ban," he said.

Abdi Abdi and others in the Somali community say they pay taxes just like everyone else.

"Most of us here in Des Moines are just green card holders, and if they cannot travel, it is something which we cannot be happy about. We are here, we are taxpayers," said Bulle.

According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, last year in Iowa, illegal immigrants paid more than $36 million in taxes.

"People are now in limbo, people in refugee camps all over the world, whether there in Syria, Somalia, in Iraq, or Lybia, people who are fleeing violence are now being used as a political hot potato," Omar said.

According to the Trump Administration, it boils down to national security and the supreme court decides for now the white house can make that call.

"Many of us here are really peace-loving people and they're doing a lot of taxes and bringing a lot of development, others are going to school, learning a lot of things," said Omar.

Sudan and Syria have been on the US Department of State's State Sponsors of Terrorism list for more than a decade, well before President Trump took office.