Just north of Minnesota and North Dakota lies the Canadian province of Manitoba. The town of Emerson is a main entry point. An hour’s drive north is the provincial capital, Winnipeg, a city of 700-thousand. That’s where I met this woman from Somalia.
For her safety, we agreed to shield her face and call her “Nasra.” She settled in Minneapolis on a U.S. medical visa to get treatment for her six-year-old autistic son. Her family is part of a minority clan persecuted in Somalia’s civil war.
NASRA: I faced a lot of problems in Somalia. During the war, my father and my brother were attacked, and my mother and I endured so much pain — we left and never went back.
LISA DESAI: After President Trump listed Somalia as one of the countries whose citizens would be blocked from entering the U.S. Nasra decided that although she was legal, it wasn’t safe to stay.
NASRA: I heard that they were going to arrest people and take them back to Somalia and that they were going into people’s homes and they were going to separate families, mothers from children.
LISA DESAI: What would happen if you were deported back to Somalia?
NASRA: If I go back to Somalia I won’t stand a chance there, I would be killed.