Ilhan Omar on her Historic Election

Ilhan Omar made history to become the first Somali-American legislator in the US, and – along with Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib – the first Muslim woman in Congress. She spoke with Christiane Amanpour about Steve King’s “white supremacist” remarks, the government shutdown, her own historic position, and her efforts to enact a so-called “Green New Deal”.

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And when we landed at that airport my dad had hopes about the kind of possibilities that awaited us and I don't think he ever in his wildest dreams could imagine just 23 years after arriving in the United States, his youngest child would get an opportunity to serve him, his neighbors and his state in the U.S.

Congress and it hadn't really been something that we talked about until we arrived at that airport because my dad and I had come back to D.C. after we moved from Arlington to Minnesota but we've never done it together and so to come back together at that same airport was a very emotional moment for the both of us as we reflected back on the day that we arrived to what my dad would call 'arriving to our America' and now getting the opportunity to really serve and fight for the America that we knew we could have and the one that our neighbors and all of us deserve.

You know I see your broad, broad smile as you talk about that, not just the personal remembrances but what you believe to be the promise of America so what did you grow up in that refugee camp in Kenya which you fled I guess from the famine in Somalia and the troubles and the civil war in Somalia and how did you receive the American dream in that refugee camp?

So it was the American ideals that we received in that refugee camp.

It was one that allowed all of the people to have prosperity, to live a life that is free, just and fair and there was a huge disconnect when I landed in the United States.

I remember my father and I are my siblings driving through Manhattan after we landed and real realizing that there were homeless people and panhandlers on the side of the streets and turning to my father and saying to him, 'This doesn't look like the America you promised' and his words precisely word to me, you know, 'You have to have patience.

We are eventually going to get to our America.'

And when we arrived in Arlington it was a little bit closer to the to the America we heard about in that refugee camp and I knew that I had to get involved in in trying to make sure that the the ideals of this nation could be fully fulfilled not only for myself but for my neighbors and for all of our communities here.

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