Trump's childhood home becomes weekend retreat for refugees in charity stunt

LONDON, Sept 18 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A group of refugees stayed at U.S. President Donald Trump's childhood home in New York over the weekend as part of a stunt to highlight the plight of people feeling conflict and persecution around the world, a charity said on Monday.

Aid agency Oxfam said it rented the house and invited refugees from Somalia, Vietnam and Syria as guests to call on Trump and other world leaders to do more to support refugees as they gather in New York for the U.N. General Assembly this week.

SEE EARLIER: Inside President Trump's childhood home that's on Airbnb for $800 per night

Trump's administration has issued a ban on people entering the United States from six Muslim-majority countries that also limited refugee admissions.

"Lives are hanging in the balance while we wait to see if President Trump and other world leaders will fulfill their duty to uphold the rights of refugees and other displaced people," said Shannon Scribner, director of Oxfam America's humanitarian department.

Trump lived in the five-bedroom, brick-fronted home built by his father, Fred, in a wealthy enclave in the borough of Queens until age 4.

The Tudor-style house, which has a fireplace, a sun room and a paneled study, was purchased by an unidentified buyer for $2.14 million at an auction in March and is now up for rent on Airbnb.

Go inside Trump's childhood home

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Trump's childhood home in New York City
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Trump's childhood home in New York City
The petite 40' x 120' suburban lot fits in with the rest of the neighborhood.

The rear of the Tudor-style home includes a sun porch.

Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, built the house for his family in 1940, and they lived in it until Donald was four years old.

It seems that the house has not been updated much since then.

According to the auction listing, the interior has "old world charm."

The home has five bedrooms spread across 3,600 square feet.

Trump's former bedroom was decorated in a patriotic manner at the time the listing photos were taken.

Aside from the link to Trump, not much else sets the home apart.

Trump himself reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the home in the past, but he never followed through to visit the property.

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Oxfam said its staff laid a mat emblazoned with the words "Refugees Welcome" and displayed a banner with the same slogan outside the property at the weekend, while four refugees shared their stories inside.

Abdi Iftin said he felt lucky to have been able to a build a new life in the United States after feeling conflict in his native Somalia.

"I had to leave my home and family behind, but here I can work hard and help provide for them," he was quoted as saying by Oxfam.

The charity said it hoped the initiative would give a face to an issue that is too often politicized with myths, lies, and fears.

"What makes America great is our diversity of experiences, ideas, talents, and the opportunity for anyone to succeed," Scribner said in a statement.

The world is grappling with the worst migration crisis in decades, with more than 65 million people driven from their homes by war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere, according to U.N.

The U.S. Supreme Court is to hold a key hearing on the constitutionality of Trump's controversial ban in October.

(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Ros Russell.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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