Ilhan Omar wants to rewrite U.S. immigration policy—if she can win the DFL primary first.

As the only legislator in the United States Congress who came from one of the countries on President Trump’s travel ban list, Representative Ilhan Omar has made it a personal crusade to undo the policy.

“It’s a priority of mine to fight against it,” Ilhan said recently, speaking to Sahan Journal from her office in Washington, D.C. “It’s personal to me.”

On Wednesday, July 22, she took to the House floor to remind fellow legislators of something she’s been saying since before she was elected to Congress: The so-called travel ban is a racist policy meant to exclude Muslims from the U.S.

The ban was a controversial executive order that Trump signed on January 27, 2017, just a week after he came to power. The order, as Ilhan and others see it, fulfilled a promise Trump had made as a candidate in 2015, when he called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Citing national security concerns, the initial executive order put a temporary halt to the arrival of immigrants and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries—including Ilhan’s native country, Somalia. Later versions expanded the list to include non-Muslim nations like Venezuela and North Korea.

But Ilhan, speaking on the House floor on that day, said that the decision to suspend the arrival of Muslims from certain Muslim countries is just another attempt by Trump and his administration “to wrap their hateful policy up in a false story about national security.”

Ilhan’s message wasn’t a mere reminder of the three-year-old executive order, which sparked demonstrations and outrage across the country. It was a formal statement the freshman made to encourage her colleagues to support the No Ban Act, which seeks to repeal the travel ban and limit the power of the president—any president—to issue such bans in the future.

By Ibrahim Hirsi for SAHAN JOURNAL
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