The Republic of Somaliland has sent a letter to President Donald Trump's administration requesting an exemption for the republic's residents from the executive order restricting entry into the US to all individuals from Somalia – one of the seven Muslim countries named in the order.
Somaliland's Foreign Minister Saad Ali Shire sent a letter on 14 February to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to request an exemption for Somaliland residents from the blanket ban.
In the letter, the minister highlighted how Somaliland – a self-declared state recognised as an autonomous region within Somalia – was a stable nation and had not experienced the emergence of terrorist organisations.
Refugees intent on starting a new life under a resettlement programme were prevented from doing so 27 January when Trump ordered refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries, to be temporarily denied US refugee status or visas for 120 days.
Unlike the nations affected by the executive order, Shire said Somaliland does not suffer from what the order describes as "deteriorating conditions [that] due to war, strife, disaster, and civil unrest increase the likelihood that terrorists will use any means possible to enter the US."
To make his point, Shire said Somaliland has focused on building strong state institutions, maintaining peace within its borders and creating a sustainable economy, unlike Somalia, which he said struggled with the collapse of its governing institutions.
Shire said the exemption would "not only relieve Somalilanders of the unintended and undue burdens caused by the Executive Order, but also acknowledge – for Somaliland and others in the region and the world – that strong and responsible governance provides a foundation upon which America's partners can secure progress for their citizens and contribute to shared international objectives."
The letter further read: "As a result of the January 27 Executive Order, Somaliland residents may not travel to the United States to visit family, pursue educational advancement or strengthen commercial ties between our two nations.
"The mutual benefits realised through these contacts are immeasurable, and contribute both to our nation's continued vitality and its ability to serve as a reliable partner to the US in a challenging region."
The former British Somaliland protectorate achieved full independence from the United Kingdom in 1960, before uniting with Somalia – creating the Somali Republic. Somaliland reclaimed its independence in 1991, but is not officially recognised as a sovereign state.