Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said on Aug. 27 that she wants the United States to bring in the United Nations to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, an action that would see America’s national sovereignty undermined.
The freshman congresswoman made the comment during a community forum in south Minneapolis on immigration where she continued to accuse the United States of committing “human rights violations” against illegal immigrants.
“Listen folks, we’re really losing our moral high ground,” Omar said. “It doesn’t make any sense for us to be committing these kinds of human rights violations, to have these policies in the way that we interact with migrants and asylum seekers.
“We should do what any other country does by dealing with this situation in a serious way. So, we have to bring in the United Nations High Commissioner [for] Refugees, an agency that has the expertise and the training to handle massive flows of refugees humanely,” she added.
Omar has been an outspoken critic of the handling of illegal immigrants at the southern border, repeatedly accusing immigration law enforcement of inhumane treatment of detainees at border facilities.
In February, she called on fellow Democrats to defund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—a federal department created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that took thousands of American lives. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are both components of the DHS.
“When Democrats stood our ground last month, we proved that Individual 1 does not have the public support to ram his hateful wall through Congress. Let’s stand firm: #Not1Dollar for DHS,” Omar wrote, likely referring to President Donald Trump.
When Democrats stood our ground last month, we proved that Individual 1 does not have the public support to ram his hateful wall through Congress.
Let’s stand firm: #Not1Dollar for DHS.
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) February 8, 2019
She then attempted to clarify her remarks a few days later saying that she was advocating for a freeze on the DHS budget rather than a cut.
“@RepPressley, @RepRashida, @RepAOC and I are calling for #not1dollar more in new funding for Trump’s abuses under DHS,” she posted on Twitter on Feb. 10.
In June, Omar voted against an emergency border aid package aimed at easing a cash crunch at federal agencies that care for migrants, after their facilities and resources were overwhelmed by an influx of illegal immigrants in recent months.
She issued a statement a few days before to justify her actions in not supporting a bill that had already received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate.
“Throwing more money at the very organizations committing human rights abuses—and the very Administration directing these human rights abuses—is not a solution,” Omar claimed. “This is a humanitarian crisis—a humanitarian crisis inflicted by our own leadership. It’s also a refugee crisis fueled by state violence, corruption, and impunity in the Northern Triangle–one that this Administration has only fueled through mass deportation and slashing aid.”
Fixing the broken immigration system has been a key issue on Trump’s agenda since he launched his presidential campaign. Trump has made many significant reforms to immigration policies and has pressured Mexico to curb the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border.
Most recently, the Trump administration ended the 1997 Clinton-era Flores agreement, which sets standards and guidelines regarding the detention and treatment of children who have crossed into the United States illegally. The agreement says minors who cross the border illegally must be detained for no longer than 20 days. This means the children and their families must be released into the interior of the United States with a court date set for possibly years down the road.
“This creates a ‘get out of jail free’ card for illegal alien families and encourages groups of illegal aliens to pose as families hoping to take advantage of that loophole,” according to a DHS factsheet dated June 18.
Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the department, said in a statement on Twitter that changing the rule “eliminates a key incentive that encourages traffickers to exploit children.”
He added that the new rule will help reduce the number of family units being apprehended at the border.
Federal immigration officials have reported record highs in the apprehension of illegal aliens at the border to Congress this year, saying that the numbers have overwhelmed border patrol facilities and resources. In May, border patrol agents apprehended or deemed inadmissible over 144,000 people crossing from Mexico, but in June the number fell to around 104,000 people after Trump took action against Mexico leading to a deal between the two countries. This number fell to just over 82,000 in July.
Following the new rule’s announcement, many of Trump’s opponents and Democrats expressed outrage. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia also filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles seeking to block the new rule.
“This new Trump rule callously puts at risk the safety and well-being of children. It undermines a decades-old agreement reached in court by the federal government to prevent the unlawful detention of immigrant children,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Along with reforming policies, the Trump administration’s border wall—another measure to deter immigrants from crossing into the United States illegally and assist immigration law enforcement with their work—has been making progress.
Earlier on Aug. 28, Trump posted a video showing a section of the wall that had been constructed. He wrote, “The Wall is going up very fast despite total Obstruction by Democrats in Congress, and elsewhere!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
According to CBP, over 60 miles of the new barrier has been built along the U.S.-Mexico border since 2017, adding that they expect “to complete 450 miles by the end of 2020.”
Construction crews continue work on the new border wall system along the SW border near San Luis, AZ. In partnership with @USACEHQ, CBP has constructed over 60 miles of new border wall system along the SW border since 2017 and expects to complete 450 miles by the end of 2020. pic.twitter.com/ZMVqVteMUN
— CBP (@CBP) August 25, 2019
Former Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan defended federal immigration officers during a House hearing on July 12 saying that Congress and media are to blame for the “unprecedented attack and vilification” agents are facing.
“These men and women who chose a life of service to this nation deserve better not only from the media but from those the community and other members of Congress. These men and women who chose a life of service deserve more,” Homan said during his opening statement (pdf) during the House Oversight Committee hearing on the alleged treatment of illegal immigrants at the border.
He criticized recent comments made by Congress members who accused, without evidence, border patrol agents of “inhumane treatment” at some of the U.S. border detention facilities.
“Those that attack the professional integrity of those that serve and blatantly throw unsubstantiated allegations against these men and women with zero evidence of guilt are wrong and should be ashamed,” Homan said, without identifying the Congress members he was referring to.
“Most of these allegations will be found untrue after extensive investigations but it’s too late when that happens. The damage has been done. The Agency is tarnished and the spirit of the men and women that serve are many times broken and their morale is at all times low.
“They have to wake up every day and see the news reports and comments from representatives in Congress that they are Nazis, white supremacist, that they operate concentration camps, that they knowingly abuse women and children,” he added.