DFL Urges Action to Ease Minnesota Somali Remittances

Saying that humanitarian relief should be a non-partisan issue, two DFL legislators question why GOP leaders have not allowed a hearing on a resolution to help Minnesotans send money to their relatives in Somalia.

Senator Jeff Hayden and Representative Karen Clark say they have many Somali-Americans in their districts who can no longer send money to famine-ravaged Somalia because the US government is concerned the money could be directed to terrorists.

Their resolution urges federal action to find an amicable solution that would allow banks to provide money-transfers to the Horn of Africa. Since many Somali Minnesotans rely on this service to help feed their families back home, Clark and Hayden have taken up this issue. Republicans in control of the State House and Senate have been unwilling to schedule an official hearing to address the issue. In lieu of that, a “People’s Hearing” will take place tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.

Full video of news conference

Minnesota’s DFL leadership has been less than aggressive in stepping up to the plate for their Twin Cities Somali constituents. Only three House Democrats have co-sponsored Rep. Clark’s legislation, and during a press conference on April 6, House Minority Leader Paul Thissen called it a federal, rather than a state issue.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Twin Cities local Somalis have set a deadline of May 11 before they threaten to begin pulling their money out of Wells Fargo Bank as a protest.


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