Ilhan Omar Says Trump Uses Term ‘Alien’ To Dehumanize Immigrants

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said no individual is an “alien,” and that President Donald Trump uses the word to justify human rights abuses.

“No one is an ‘alien.’ This is family separation on a massive scale,” Omar tweeted 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,” she wrote.

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 U.S. 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.”

U.S. Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar participates in a gun violence prevention roundtable with former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., October 26, 2018. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

U.S. Democratic congressional candidate Ilhan Omar. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

The Center for Immigration Studies, along with other non-partisan immigration organizations, define “alien” in similar iterations. (RELATED: Ilhan Omar Filed Joint Tax Returns With Man She Wasn’t Married To)

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 Trump was referring not to asylum seekers, but to MS-13 gang members.

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