Somali immigrant and first generation Americans won U.S. elections

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (November 7, 2018)

In what is being described as a referendum election on President Donald Trump, a hijab wearing immigrant from Somalia and two first generation Americans born to Eritrean and Palestinian immigrant parents won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ilhan Omar, an immigrant from Somalia and Rashida Tlaib, born to Palestinian immigrant parents, have also become the first Muslim women elected to the US Congress.

Ilhan Omar, a democrat, will also be the first hijab wearing woman to become a member of the U.S. Congress. She won Minnesota’s fifth district to replace Keith Ellison, who is also the first Muslim congressman. Ellison, aso a democrat, won Minnesota’s race for Attorney General.

Omar, 37, fled war torn Somalia at the age of 14. In 2016, she became the first Somali-American legislator elected to office in the United States when she was elected as a Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party member of the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Ilhan Omar’s platform includes universal healthcare and tuition-free colleges.

Rashida Tlaib, 42, was born in Detroit to Palestinian immigrant parents. She won Michigan’s 13th congressional district running on a platform of $15 minimum wage, and opposing cuts to medicare and social security.
In 2008, she become the first Muslim woman to be elected to the Michigan legislature.

Colorado’s 2nd congressional district elected Joe Neguse, 34, a first generation American born to Eritrean immigrant parents. Neguse defeated Republican Peter Yu. He run on a platform that includes single-payer Medicare, impeachment against Trump and protection of immigrants who arrive in the U.S. as children.

Ethiopian born Alexander Assefa won a seat in Nevada’s legislature. Assefa, who came to the United States in 2000, went to highschool in Alexandria, Virginia. He moved to Nevada in 2006. A pilot and small business owner, Alexander Assefa, 35, is active in his community in Nevada in helping refugees. Assefa is a democrat.

Tuesday’s mid term election saw Democrats controlling the House, while Republicans continue their majority in the Senate.