It should have been a glorious moment for her — she was about to become the first Eritrea-born woman in the United States to be elected to a state legislature — but even as she was winning a hard-fought Democratic primary earlier this month against the longest-serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives in state history, it turns out that she was charged with immigration-related marriage fraud.
And the odd thing is that just over two years ago this summer, pretty much the same thing happened in Manhattan. This time the person was from the Dominican Republic, the first woman from her country to be elected to a state legislature. She managed to serve for a while in the New York State Assembly before her marriage fraud got her bounced from the chamber.
Both women are Democrats and naturalized citizens, but there are significant differences.
Ilhan Omar, in Minneapolis, is said to have married her own brother so that he could secure his green card. She did so even though she may have been married to someone else at the time and she is currently living with yet another man, according to the Star Tribune. Marrying one's brother is against state law. Ms. Omar is a member of the usually squeaky clean Democratic Farm Labor Party of that state.
Gabriella Rosa, as we reported at the time, was apparently in illegal status when she paid an unnamed citizen $8,000 to marry her; that fake marriage led to a green card, to citizen status, and ultimately to a seat in the Assembly (with a divorce along the way). Ms. Rosa had been an employee of Tammany Hall, the ancient Democratic machine in the city.
Ms. Rosa got into trouble for buying her way into legal status; Ms. Omar is in trouble for apparently trying to do a big (but doubly illegal) favor for her own brother.
People with immigration/marriage fraud in their backgrounds should — out of concern for their own best interests — avoid political office, as it often brings press scrutiny and related disasters.
Ms. Omar is apparently still in the race for the legislature, in a heavily Democratic district. She denies wrongdoing. My sense of these things is that she will be forced, at the very least, to withdraw from the race.