Somali Money Transfer Problem a Federal Issue, Says MN DFL

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Click photo to watch Thissen's answer about helping resolve Somali remittances

Click photo to watch Thissen's answer about helping resolve Somali remittances

Somali Minnesotans are stuck in limbo because the U.S. Government has pressured banks not to let them wire money home to their families in the war-torn East African nation — ostensibly out of fears that money could fall into the hands of terrorists. Many of those Somali families depend on the remittances for survival.

Local Somalis have set a deadline of May 11 before they begin to pull their money out of Wells Fargo Bank as a protest. But they aren’t getting much help from their elected leaders at the State Capitol in St. Paul. House Minority Leader Paul Thissen says that fellow DFL Rep. Karen Clark is working on a resolution to call on the federal government to take action (see the status of House File 1902 here) , but she has received only three co-sponsors to her legislation.

“At the end of the day, I think this is a federal issue,” said Thissen. “We actually can’t change the law that would change that. We can just encourage our federal representatives to move in that direction … and that we strike the right balance between the humanitarian interest of actually getting money back to families while not getting that money into the hands of terrorists, and I think striking that is Secretary of State Clinton’s ultimate decision.”

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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