In a series of tweets, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar claimed no individual is an “alien,” and that the word is used by President Donald Trump to justify human rights abuses.
“No one is an ‘alien.’ This is family separation on a massive scale,” Omar tweeted on Tuesday. “Dehumanizing immigrants and tearing apart families will not make us any stronger. It will only destroy lives, traumatize children, and make our country less safe.”
In response to massive online criticism, the first-term Democratic lawmaker doubled down on her remarks.
“To the trolls: Trump uses dehumanizing language like ‘aliens’ ‘illegals’ or even ‘animals’ to justify horrific human rights abuses against migrants. The DOJ now mandates that public officials only use the term ‘illegal aliens.’ This is straight out of the demagogue’s playbook,” Omar wrote.
No one is an “alien.”
This is family separation on a massive scale.
Dehumanizing immigrants and tearing apart families will not make us any stronger. It will only destroy lives, traumatize children, and make our country less safe. https://t.co/a8q9YV3AGX(Article Continues Below Advertisement)
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 18, 2019
To the trolls:
Trump uses dehumanizing language like “aliens” “illegals” or even “animals” to justify horrific human rights abuses against migrants. The DOJ now mandates that public officials only use the term “illegal aliens.”
This is straight out of the demagogue’s playbook. https://t.co/mEqPJSP95Z
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 19, 2019
The initial tweet was in response to Trump’s Monday night announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement would soon begin deporting millions of illegal aliens living in the U.S.
Despite Omar’s assertions, the word “alien” has been a long-held term that applies to all foreign nationals. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services defines it as “Any person not a citizen or national of the United States. ‘Foreign national’ is a synonym and used outside of statutes when referring to noncitizens of the U.S.”
The Center for Immigration Studies, along with other non-partisan immigration organizations, define “alien” in very similar iterations.
Omar — herself an immigrant from war-torn Somalia — also appeared to dredge up a previously-debunked claim about Trump and MS-13. A deceptively-edited video that went viral in April made it appear that the president referred to asylum seekers as “animals.” The comments were actually made in May 2018, and a longer version of the video shows that Trump was referring, not to asylum seekers, but to MS-13 gang members.
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