Interview with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib

Reporter Mackenzie Galloway Sits down with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who she interned for, to discuss immigration issues.


Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is one of the most talked about politicians in 2019. She made history just last year when she became the first Muslim woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, alongside Ilhan Omar. She also holds the title of the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress. As a Muslim, woman of color who speaks her mind, Trump and his administration have tried countless times to silence her, but she remains resilient.

Tlaib’s is dedicated to improving her Detroit community and Michigan’s 13th district. Her progressive legislation furthers her testament to using her voice to shed light on crucial issues and uplifting marginalized individuals. Tlaib has already made tremendous strides — such as introducing 11 new bills and bringing in over $245,000 for the residents of her district — although she has only been in her current office for eight months. She has not only inspired those in the community, but people all around the world. 

 
Interning with Rashida has been the most rewarding experience ever. She is such a genuine woman and really cares about her community
— Mackenzie Galloway
 

Born and raised in Detroit, MI, Rashida Tlaib is seen as a mother figure in her community. She embodies strength, altruism, and nurturing qualities, all while exuding an energy that lights up a room every time she walks in. As the oldest child of 14, Tlaib went on to study immigration and environment law at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

Once she had children, she cultivated a love for education and community. This love for community matters led her to begin her political career in 2004 when she interned for Michigan State Rep., Steve Tobocman. She was eventually hired as an official staff member in 2007. In 2008, Tobocman encouraged Tlaib to run for his seat in the House of Representatives. She ran and won the general election with over 90 percent of the vote. Tlaib was reelected in 2010 with 92 percent of the general election vote, followed by another win in 2012. In the 2018 U.S. general election for the House, Tlaib hailed victorious, receiving 31.2 percent of the votes in a race against several other candidates. On Jan. 3, 2019, Tlaib swore in to office on a Quran and wore a thobe, a traditional embroidered Palestinian dress. In honor of her monumental achievement, Tlaib encouraged fellow Palestinian women to tweet #TweetYourThobe. 

One of Rashida Tlaib’s most prevalent political issues, is her advocacy for immigrants in the United States. She is a strong believer in the abolition of ICE and immigration reform. Tlaib states that “The system is broken.” Anyone over the age of 16 is older than ICE. They were established in 2003, and have caused “complete deterioration” of immigrant families and homes all over the country, says Tlaib. Children are being ripped away from their families, forced into a broken foster system, while their parents are battle the government for a chance to stay in the country, with hopes of having the  opportunity to reunite with their loved ones. . “ICE acts above the law” says Tlaib in the interview. They have separated thousands of families, profiled dozens of American citizens as being immigrants because of their skin color (as many 1,400 since 2012), and have even been responsible for deaths in their facilities. Rashida Tlaib even had the opportunity to visit an ICE facility in El Paso Texas, noting that the migrants were “treated like animals

My time interning for Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been extremely rewarding and completely life-changing. I worked with such an inspiring team, it truly felt like my job was my second home.  Each day I woke up excited to go to my 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rashida is such an authentic and caring person with a great sense of humor. Also a special thanks to Denzel McCampbell, my direct boss, you are “the bomb!” I can’t express how grateful I am for this experience and how i much it has humbled and inspired me. Thank you 1,000 times over!

Busting some myths about immigrants
with answers from
the American Immigration Council:

Why can’t they just immigrate here legally? 

  • The current legal immigration system simply cannot handle the demands placed upon it. The number of new immigrants admitted each year is based on numbers set by Congress in 1990. Basing admissions on that data fails to reflect the change in demands for family unification and in workforce needs that have occurred over the last twenty years. 

Where are they coming from?

  • American immigrants come from a diverse range of places. Roughly 28 percent are from Asia, 24 percent from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean other than Mexico, 12 percent from Europe, and 4 percent from Africa.

Do immigrants take jobs from Americans?

  • Immigrants pay taxes, create new jobs by opening businesses, and make scientific discoveries that transform entire industries. In fact, Immigrants were more than twice as likely to start businesses.

  • Immigrants do not compete with the majority of American-borns for the same jobs because they tend to have different levels of education and work in different occupations.

Don’t they drain our economy by not paying taxes?

  • Migrants pay taxes on their property and are subject to sales taxes on what they buy. 

  • More than half of migrants have taxes taken out of their paychecks

Aren’t lots of immigrants criminals?

  • A study by the Cato Institute shows that illegal immigrants are 49 percent less likely to be incarcerated than native-born Americans. Legal immigrants are 75 percent less likely to be incarcerated than natives.

  • Incarceration rate for American-born men age 18-39 was five times higher than for immigrant men in 2000