Ilhan Omar responds to 'hateful rhetoric' by Fox News hosts about refugees: 'Not surprising'

·3 min read

Rep. Ilhan Omar appeared on The ReidOut Tuesday, where the Minnesota Democrat responded to right-wing figures like Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham pushing back against the United States accepting Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban. Carlson has even gone so far as to label the impending resettlement of refugees in the U.S. an invasion.

Omar came to the U.S. as a refugee in the ’90s, after her family fled Somalia and lived in a refugee camp for four years, so her views differ greatly from those of Carlson and Ingraham.

“It is not surprising, right?” Omar said when asked about comments from Carlson and Ingraham. “This is their playbook. They know how to whip up their base into frenzy.” She later added, “You have the man who led us into this war, President Bush, say we should allow for Afghani refugees. And then you've got these crazy people on the right doing, you know, what they always do with their fear mongering and their hateful rhetoric.”

Ingraham, along with former President Trump’s past adviser Stephen Miller, has taken the angle of questioning whether or not the U.S. will be able to properly vet the refugees that will be brought in. But as someone who is familiar with the process, Omar is not concerned.

“We’ve done this many a times where we have evacuated people, airlifted them into safe spaces so that we can properly vet them and have them come to the United States as vetted refugees. I know a little bit about that, you know?” Omar said. “I know what it's like to be a child in a family scrambling for safety in a war-torn country. I know the rigorous process you go through to get vetted as a refugee. We are the most vetted people who come to the United States. The process is long, and it doesn't just end when you arrive on the shores. It continues for years until you are eligible for citizenship at five years of entrance.”

Omar also responded to right-wing pundit Charlie Kirk, who claimed that what is happening in Afghanistan right now was planned by President Biden so he could bring refugees to the U.S. for political gain. Kirk specifically mentioned Omar in that diatribe.

“What’s going on here is Joe Biden wants a couple hundred thousand more Ilhan Omar’s to come to America to change the body politic permanently,” Kirk said.

“He needs geography classes, and somebody needs to send him a globe, maybe. I’m not from Afghanistan, I’m from Somalia. And many Somali refugees are in this country and many of them are prospering just as I have,” Omar said. “You know, that man and others can cry about it, but the reality is, this is a country that welcomes refugees. And they don’t just welcome refugees, they sent one to Congress.”

The ReidOut airs weeknights at 7 p.m. on MSNBC.

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