President Donald Trump’s childhood home had some unusual visitors ahead of his U.N. address this weekend — refugees.
International anti-poverty charity Oxfam rented President Trump’s childhood home on Saturday via Airbnb. At $725 a night, organizers said the cost was a small price to pay to draw attention to the worsening refugee crisis.
— Oxfam America (@OxfamAmerica) September 18, 2017
“We are here today in the childhood home of President Trump to send a message to President Trump, but also world leaders, that they need to do more to help refugees,” said Shannon Scribner, acting director for the humanitarian department of Oxfam America.
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This year is on track to be the deadliest on record for refugees and migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Some European countries are limiting access to refugees and President Trump has placed an outright ban on refugees from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
The stunt comes amid renewed debate the Trump travel and refugee ban. Just last week the Supreme Court said the ban would remain until it hears arguments on Oct. 10.
On their way in the door, a video clip shows four refugees from Syria, Vietnam and Somalia stepped over a “Refugees Welcome” doormat on the stoop, which stood in contrast to home’s existing Trump-themed decorations. They were there to talk to journalists about Trump’s controversial travel ban blocking tourists and refugees from six majority-Muslim countries.
Trump grew up in the house Tudor-style five-bedroom house in Queens until he was 4 years old.
Eiman Ali said being in the home made her wonder where she was at age 4. The Somali native would have just immigrated to the United States after first fleeing to Yemen to avoid war. Her parents were in search of the American Dream, which she said meant a safe home and the opportunity to accomplish your goals.
“Now, it’s starting to feel threatened,” she said.
Syrian refugee Ghassan al-Chahada, 41, who arrived in the U.S. with his family in 2012 said Trump’s travel and refugee ban has turned his dream into a nightmare.
“I had hopes I would get my green card and be able to visit my country,” al-Chahada said to the Independent. “But since Trump was elected I don’t dare, I don’t dare leave this country and not be able to come back.”
Oxfam ended its short video with a plug for aid.
“A cornerstone of the founding values of the U.S. was to offer oppressed people refuge from violence and persecution,” its website said. “Now as Americans we must open our minds, hearts, and communities to vulnerable refugees who are seeking a safe place to call home.”