Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), took aim at President Trump for calling illegal immigrants “aliens,” and accused the current administration of dehumanizing immigrants.
“No one is an ‘alien,'” she tweeted. She was sending a response to Trump’s announcement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would “begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”
“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,” Omar added.
Omar’s comments reflected a broader tension within the United States over how to refer to illegal immigrants. Describing people as “illegal” or “aliens” received criticism from Democrats and even the Associated Press, which previously updated its style guide to prohibit the use of “illegal alien.”
A major rebuttal of her stance was from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who specifically directed his Justice Department not to use terms other than “illegal alien” which he said was based in U.S. code.
“The word ‘undocumented’ is not based in US code and should not be used to describe someone’s illegal presence in the country,” he reportedly stated in an agency-wide email.
This was just the latest immigration criticism that Omar lobbed at Trump or his administration. Earlier in June, she also suggested it was “un-American” of ICE to detain illegal immigrants.
“It’s un-American to criminalize immigrants for wanting to come to this country for a better life. This is why ICE to be defunded,” she tweeted.
Omar also blasted Trump’s immigration plan in May and called for an abolition of ICE. “We need to abolish ICE and end all inhumane deportation and detention programs. We need to fight back against the criminalization of immigrants and those crossing the border,” she said.