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Iranian American Runs for Congress in Dallas

Amir Omar, a first generation American of Iranian and Palestinian descent, is running for a seat in US Congress in District 30 of Texas.

ImageWashington DC - Amir Omar, a first generation American of Iranian and Palestinian descent, is running for a seat in US Congress in District 30 of Texas.Omar is a Republican hopeful with cross-over appeal and has been catching people’s attention with a major endorsement from the Dallas Morning News. Currently, he is battling two other Republican candidates in the primary which will be held on March 7.

If he wins the Republican bid, Omar will be facing 7-term incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson. NIAC’s Ashton Rogers was able to contact Omar for an interview, to discuss politics, issues facing his district, and the impact of his Iranian background.

A native of the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Omar’s decision to run for Congress comes from his observation that his “particular area in Dallas has seen the least progress, most despair, and some of the highest crime,” despite the growth and prosperity of other Dallas/Fort Worth neighborhoods in recent years. Along with his readiness to bring about change, Omar believes that his willingness to “reach across boundaries in a very Democratic leaning district with ideas instead of a reliance on a political party to get elected could revolutionize the political system.”

Raised by immigrant parents, Omar grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. With an Iranian mother and a Palestinian father, Omar has been awarded a very unique perspective, which he plans to utilize while in office. Omar believes that his background would not consciously affect his decisions in Congress; instead, “it would have more to do with the way that I am as a person and how I react to things.” He especially gives credit to his Iranian mother, whom he feels has given him a strong ability “to feel and understand the emotions and concerns of many.”

As a result of his mothers influence, Omar places a strong emphasis on family values. As a Congressman, he would push to “remove roadblocks that cause diversions from marriage, like removing the marriage penalty.” According to Omar, “Congress’s decisions affect the way that families operate,” and he would like to create incentives to promote marriage such as premarital counseling assistance and dispute resolution before divorce is granted.

Omar sees a major benefit to promoting family values, which is the “immediate inclusion and acceptance of others.” This issue rings true especially for Omar, who comprehends the challenge of a person of Persian and Arab descent running for a seat in Congress.

However, he also believes that his Iranian and Arab background allows him to bring something new to the political table: “I can add a unique perspective that is not already there.” With a lack of Arab or Iranian Americans in Congress, Omar feels that he can “reach out to other countries in the Middle East, and provide more thought and perspective on Middle East decisions.”

In regards to the issue of US-Iran relations, Omar stated, “We need to continue on a course of partnering with our European allies, instead of making it into an ‘Iran versus the United States’ issue.” He supports the move to have Russia enrich uranium for Iran, and believes that the US should consider direct negotiations with Tehran.

Another major area of concern for Omar, and the state of Texas, is immigration. As a son of immigrants, Omar understands that “people who come to America from other countries are our most precious assets…, a national treasure,” but he maintains that “everyone still needs to follow the rules of the land.” For Omar, unchecked immigration needs to be curbed: “Allowing the law to be broken so flagrantly is a question of principal, where the allowance of lawlessness puts the United States in the bad position of appearing as if ‘laws don’t matter.’”

When solving this problem, Omar relies on his own experience of growing up on the US-Mexico border. In order to control the unrestricted influx of illegal immigrants, Omar argues that “we need to increase the strength of border control, and we need enough border patrol agents to have our presence felt.” Also, Omar supports the use of different “technologies that are available that can track the border and stymie people from crossing.”

Along with solving illegal immigration, the Patriot Act has caused much recent debate among members of Congress. In regards to the Patriot Act, Omar stated, “I do believe that there are important aspects that I support, due to the current climate and the attacks carried out in the US, but I also believe that the government needs more oversight of the legal boundaries that are being stretched with a separate committee to overview actions relating to the Patriot Act.”


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