Two days before Election Day, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump intensified his attacks on refugees at a rally in Minneapolis, saying the city of Minnesota had “suffered enough” since becoming home to the largest Somali-American community in the country.
“How stupid are our leaders,” Trump said in the largely Democratic state Sunday. “How stupid are our leaders to allow this to happen?”
“Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” the real estate mogul said. “Some of them [are] joining ISIS [the Islamic State terrorist group] and spreading their extremist views all over our country and all over the world.”
He criticized his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, who in September 2015, came out in support of increasing the number of Syrian refugees the U.S. would take in from 10,000 to nearly 65,000.
“She wants virtually unlimited immigration and refugee admissions, from the most dangerous regions of the world, to come into our country and to come into Minnesota,” Trump told his audience. “Her plan will import generations of terrorism, extremism, and radicalism into your schools and throughout your community.”
The U.S. already has one of the strictest vetting processes for refugees in the world, with multiple rounds of interviews with security agencies, as well as background and health checks. The process could last for up to two years before the refugee is allowed to enter the country. Trump is yet to release a detailed plan for his “extreme vetting” process.
At least 85,000 Somali Americans live in the Twin Cities, according to the 2010 census. In June, three Somali Americans — two U.S. citizens and a legal resident — pleaded guilty to attempting to join ISIS. Officials said at least 30 men have left Minnesota to join the militant group. Meanwhile, a former refugee, Ilhan Omar, is set to be elected to the state legislature in one of the most racially segregated areas in the U.S.
Trump on Sunday vowed to suspend the Syrian refugee program, saying his administration would not allow refugees to settle in places without the approval of local governments.