Canadian-Somalian singer K’naan is seeking some help from his American fans, and is asking them to show him some love in November when they vote in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections.
The “Wavin’ Flag” singer — who is a dual citizen of Canada and Somalia, currently living in New York City while his family remains in Toronto.
And therein lies the problem. Because Somalia is one of the countries on the Trump administration’s travel ban, he fears that if he were to leave the U.S. in order to visit family in Canada he might not be allowed back into the country. That’s why he’s asking American fans to exercise their vote in November to take a stand against the Republicans in a new video for The Love Vote.
“I feel slightly hypocritical, because I never voted when I lived in Canada even though I could have,” says K’naan in the powerful video.
“The way politicians spoke about us, it never really seemed it was us they were talking about. So, I stayed away from the process. Then, years later, I moved to New York. I live here, I work here, but my family is still in Toronto. And last year’s U.S. immigration ban hit us all hard. For the first time in my life, I truly wished I could vote. So if you can vote, I hope you will, on my behalf.”
As K’naan explains, he’s concerned that if he leaves the U.S. he may not be allowed back in.
“I had bought a little chessboard for my kids who like chess. My two little boys they’re 11 and 13 and so I want to take back this chessboard to Toronto but the immigration ban happens and I’m really worried that I won’t be able to come back to New York where my apartment is,” he continues. “I call my immigration lawyer and she confirms my fears and says, ‘Do not leave because you probably won’t be allowed back.’”
Canadians with dual citizenships involving any of the named countries are not expected to be affected by the ban.
However, there may be some issues if you’ve been to one of the named countries, Canadian immigration lawyer Petra Molnar told Global News in June.
That’s because of the discretionary nature of the rules.
“You can always be turned away based on your travel history. I’ve had that done to me because I’ve worked in some of those countries,” Molnar explained at the time.
That, he explains, “was the first time I thought, ‘God, I really wish I could vote.’ It really makes me think about this idea that someone could cast a vote for you as this incredibly generous, thoughtful idea.”
In its mission statement, The Love Vote notes that “50 million of us can’t vote — because of youth, citizenship or disenfranchisement.” The goal: to “share our stories and move voters with love!”