Nostalgic moment in DC Airport on eve of swearing in for Somali-American Ilhan Omar
On the eve of her swearing-in as a member of Congress, incoming Rep elect Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) posted a picture on Twitter reminiscing on her experience entering America as a refugee from Kenya.
23 years ago, from a refugee camp in Kenya, my father and I arrived at an airport in Washington DC. Today, we return to that same airport on the eve of my swearing in as the first Somali-American in Congress.
Omar came to the U.S. at the age of 12 as a Somali refugee cast out of her country by a civil war in her home country. She spent time at a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to America with her father.
Omar’s swearing-in Thursday will be a historic occasion. She will be the first Somali-American and one of the first Muslim woman in Congress.
In 1995, Omar and her family’s application to be resettled as refugees in the U.S. was approved, and they initially settled in Arlington, Virginia.In 1995, they moved to Minneapolis, where Ilhan learned English. Her father worked initially as a taxi driver, later as a postal office worker.Her father and grandfather emphasized during her upbringing the importance of democracy, and she accompanied her grandfather to caucus meetings at age 14, serving as his interpreter.Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old.