Ilhan Omar: We Need to Completely Rethink Our Immigration System

Ilhan Omar says it’s time to humanize our immigration system.

“When we talk about immigration, we often talk about just the policy. And it is important for us to think about the people behind that policy” she explained. “It is important for us to recognize the human faces, the human lives, the human stories, the human struggles, the human hope that is rooted in the policies that we are debating.”

Omar was a Somali refugee who fled civil war as a child. She lived in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the U.S.

“When I hear the president and this administration and his advisers talk about out immigration policy and forget to recognize the humanity in the people that they are speaking about… it is important for my voice to really roar, because I know the pain that they’re feeling,” she said.

Omar is the first Somali American in Congress. She has helped elevate the voices of fellow immigrants like Linda Clark. Clark lives in the U.S. legally under Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). Trump recently extended the program for one more year after threatening to end the 28-year program.

“I’m an immigrant just like Linda. Fled civil way just like Linda,” she said. “The only difference is I am few that have benefited from the current immigration system that we have.”