Hussein Ahmed and Mohamed Hossain moved as quickly as they could through the waist-deep snow. They were fleeing the United States for Canada, terrified but determined to get to safety.
“Sometimes we were crawling,” Ahmed, 34, says. “It was terrible. … I thought I would never survive such a field of ice.”
The two men were part of a group of five Somalis who crossed illegally through Mexico into the United States, begging for asylum there. Now they find themselves crossing a border to beg for asylum all over again.
The men began having sleepless nights because of US President Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric. Then he signed an executive order temporarily barring refugees, and all travelers from Somalia. That was the final sign. They hatched a plan to leave.
They each paid a man $300 to take them toward Grand Forks, North Dakota. He drove them to as close as possible to the border about 8 p.m. on Friday might, the men say. They were to steer clear of the bright lights of the US border in the distance, where customs agents might turn them back or send them to jail.