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Buffalo refugees, immigrants scared by Supreme Court travel ban ruling

Kawiye Jumale, 22, has felt horrible since Tuesday.

Her brothers are stuck in Somalia, and Jumale doesn’t know if they will ever make it to the United States following the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold President Donald Trump’s travel ban against five majority-Muslim countries.

“How would you feel if you’re told, ‘You’re not welcome into a country,’” said Jumale, a Somali refugee born in Kenya who has lived on the West Side since 2004. “That’s so inhumane.”

Other immigrants in the Buffalo area like Jumale told The Buffalo News on Thursday they are shocked, discouraged and frightened by the Supreme Court’s Tuesday ruling.

Mohamed Abdulla, 31, of Lackawanna, has family stuck in Saudi Arabia who cannot enter the United States under Trump’s ban.

“Sometimes you figure, ‘What’s the point?’ You get disappointed,” said Abdulla, who works at a Metro PCS store. “You hope for the best.”

His family members are Yemeni citizens who escaped a violent civil war that left thousands dead and millions more at risk of starvation.

Yemen is included under the president’s ban, but Saudi Arabia is not. The ban also affects the predominantly Muslim nations of Iran, Syria, Libya and Somalia. Travel from North Korea and Venezuela is restricted, too.

Abdulla has lived in the United States since he was 2 years old. His father left Yemen in the 1970s, and Abdulla, his mother and other family members joined him in the 1990s.

“Instead of playing soccer like most Arabians, I used to wrestle in high school,” Abdulla said. He loves the Sabres and grew up as a member of the Bills Mafia, Abdulla added.

His wife is expecting a second child soon, and Abdulla works to support his growing family, he said.

But in the back of his mind, he is worrying about those stuck on the Arabian Peninsula who can’t join him in Lackawanna.

Isaac Asumani, 24, is not Muslim. But he attended a Catholic Charities news conference organized Thursday to protest the Supreme Court’s decision.

Asumani, a refugee of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, briefly spoke to a crowd of supporters alongside Abdulla and Jumale. Before the event, he told The News he’s scared Trump could expand the ban to target other religions or races.

“Today they’re trying to ban out Muslims to come over here, so tomorrow it’s going to be Congolese, after tomorrow’s it’s gonna be, like, Tanzanians,” said Asumani, who first entered the United States just over two years ago. He lives in North Buffalo.

Before traveling across the Atlantic, his family lived in African refugee camps for about 20 years, fleeing the Congo’s civil war.

U.S. officials don’t understand refugees, Asumani said. It’s not as if refugees don’t miss their home countries, he said. They just have to escape bloodshed, or conflict.

“There’s a lot of people suffering,” Asumani said.

Jumale agrees. During the news conference, she said she’s having a difficult time comprehending the Supreme Court’s vote.

“It’s a shame, it’s a disappointment and it’s a disgrace,” Jumale said. “I can’t even explain how I’m feeling because … we are struggling.

“It’s famine, and drought and people are dying every single day. And to have someone with this much power, to be able to get away with something like this, that’s just a shame and it shows America is not what it used to be anymore.”

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