Rep. Ilhan Omar Became A U.S. Citizen 6 Years Before Melania Trump Did

by Christina Marfice
Chip Somodevilla/Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Ilhan Omar has been a citizen longer than Melania Trump, but you don’t see anyone telling her to “go back”

It’s been weeks now of fallout over President Donald Trump’s racist attacks on four nonwhite Congresswomen. In a series of blatantly racist tweets, Trump told the four duly elected U.S. citizens — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — to “go back” to their home countries and fix the governments there before criticizing the U.S. government. In subsequent speeches, he’s claimed that these women hate the United States, and that they are free to leave if they want to.

As we know by now, three of these Congresswomen were born in the U.S. Only one of them wasn’t: Omar, who was born in Sudan, but immigrated to the U.S. as a refugee. Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000, when she was just 17 years old.

Now, some people are comparing immigration records for members of Trump’s own family, and wondering why these Congresswomen are the people he’s telling to “go back” to their own countries.

Records show that the First Lady, Melania Trump, became a U.S. citizen in 2006, a year after she and the future president got married. She was 36 years old at the time. And what’s particularly worth noting is she earned her citizenship six years after Ilhan Omar did. Omar, who has been the subject of numerous racist attacks by the president, has been a citizen longer than his own wife has.

Omar has been getting the brunt of the President’s attacks, seemingly because, after his tweets, he realized telling a group of women who were born in the United States to go back to their home countries is remarkably stupid, even for him. So he focused his energy on the easier target, Omar, who was actually born in a foreign country. At a rally just days after the tweets, he basked in a chant from his supporters, saying “Send her back,” over and over, about Omar.

But Trump hasn’t said anything about “sending back” his own wife. Wonder what the difference might be.

Oh, wait, we don’t have to wonder, because it’s glaringly obvious. Melania is white. Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley are not.

In the aftermath of his tirades, Trump has tried to claim that his remarks weren’t racist. But we have the proof that they were, right there in immigration records. The people he attacks have all been U.S. citizens for much longer than Melania (several of them since their literal birth on U.S. soil), but they all have brown or black skin. Anyone who still denies that we have an openly and unrepentantly racist president is ignoring these facts.