by Sharon Rondeau

(May 17, 2022) — On May 6, 2022, DFL primary candidate for Minnesota’s 5th congressional district AJ Kern filed suit in Minnesota District Court against incumbent Rep. Ilhan Omar and another primary challenger, Don Samuels, after both declined to respond to her requests for their permission to obtain their naturalization records, if they exist, from the U.S. government. Also named as a defendant is Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon.

The release of naturalization records for individuals other than oneself requires written permission from the subject(s) unless they are deceased.

Kern’s complaint is based upon the absence of any evidence released by either Samuels or Omar, and Simon’s alleged failure to require proof, that each meets the U.S. Constitution’s citizenship requirement of “seven years a citizen of the United States” in order to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in light of their births outside the country.

The 22-page complaint and summons directed to the three defendants are below.

As the incumbent, Omar is seeking a third term in Congress, having won her first bid for federal office in November 2018. Prior to that, she served a term in the Minnesota legislature after becoming politically active as a young person. Born in Somalia, Omar takes pride in being “the first African refugee to become a Member of Congress, the first woman of color to represent Minnesota, and one of the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress.”

Omar’s birthday is widely reported as October 4 and the year she arrived in the U.S. as 1995. Her mother reportedly died when she was two. According to Omar in her memoir, “This is what America Looks Like: My Journey from Refugee to Congresswoman,” while in Somalia, her family consisted of civil servants and educators who lived in a guarded “compound” with a hired driver and raised girls outside of traditional Somali norms.

Samuels was born in Jamaica and, as Kern’s petition states, his campaign website does not declare a date or year when he became a U.S. citizen. Samuels served on the Minneapolis City Council from 2003 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2018 on the Minneapolis Board of Education. He sees himself as an “Obama Democrat” with “a collaborative and mutual approach to leadership” who “continues to believe in the Rev. Martin Luther King’s dream.”

In the complaint, Kern wrote that as a primary candidate, she has “standing” to ascertain whether or not candidates for the same office are constitutionally eligible.

Late last week, Kern received notification that the case has been assigned to Judge Bridget Sullivan.

Her motivation in filing the suit, Kern told us in an interview Saturday morning, arose after she noted that Omar was reported to be 37 years old when she was first seated in Congress in January 2019. “Her legislative website, congressional website and many credible sources said her birth year is 1981,” Kern said. “Omar said in a video, ‘Through Her Eyes,’ that they came to the U.S. on March 8, 1995. Refugees have a five-year waiting period before they can apply for naturalization. I recently discovered that it’s actually more than that; they’re supposed to wait a year before they can apply for permanent residency, and then they go from there. But let’s say it was just the five-year period. If she was born in 1981, when her father became eligible to apply for citizenship in 2000, she was already 18.”

Omar’s arrival in the United States is publicly reported as having occurred in 1995 after she and her family spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, having fled Somalia during its 1990-1992 civil war. In 2018, the Associated Press reported:

As for Omar’s own immigration story, she was a child when her family fled Somalia, a nation of about 12 million in Africa, after it was shattered by a civil war in 1991. She spent years in a refugee camp in Kenya and immigrated to the United States as a refugee in 1995. She became eligible for citizenship five years after their entry, and Omar became a citizen in 2000, when she was 17.

Regarding refugees, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states, “U.S. immigration law requires refugees to apply for lawful permanent resident (LPR) status after they have been physically present in the U.S. for at least one year.” To apply, refugees must complete Form I-485, which distinguishes among different types of immigrants and allows for “principal” and “derivative” applicants.

To apply for U.S. citizenship, an applicant must have been a lawful permanent resident (LPR) for five years. However, the INA states that refugees deemed “admissible” to the U.S. after one year are considered LPRs effective the date on which they arrived in the country.

The media has reported Omar’s birth year as both 1981 and 1982 and that she became a U.S. citizen in 2000 “at the age of 17.” Omar’s campaign website states she “naturalized” and became a U.S. citizen in 2000 “at age 17.”

Kern further told us:

So I made a video and explained to people that at that time, she was 18 and could not have derived citizenship through her father, and we have no evidence that her father actually naturalized.

Two days after I published that video on social media, she called the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library and asked that her birth year be changed from 1981 to 1982. She also did it on her congressional page and Wikipedia. To me, that should raise a red flag. I’m a patriot; I believe that we should not have foreign nationals sitting in our Congress. It’s very clear that the qualifications to run – Article I, Section 2, clause 2 – you must be “seven years a citizen.”

Exhibit “F” in Kern’s lawsuit

Well, she never proved that, because I went to the Secretary of State’s office and found out that they’re not asking for verification of citizenship for anyone who registers to vote or run for office. I don’t think that’s good enough. When you’re foreign-born and you’re going to serve in the Congress, you should be able to say, ‘Here are my naturalization papers.’ I don’t think that’s asking too much.

Kern first ran for Congress in 2016 as a Republican primary challenger in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District against incumbent Tom Emmer, who is currently serving his fourth term in the House, having succeeded retiring Rep. Michele Bachmann. “I’m a conservative, and I think there are a lot of Republicans who aren’t conservative, more the ‘establishment,'” Kern told us. “Tom Emmer was in his first term. There are photographs of his staff with members of CAIR and Muslim Brotherhood front groups that exist in this country, and my face ended up being on a report that CAIR put out with my eyes blacked out.”

Further, she said, “I wasn’t happy about what’s happening in Minnesota where the people don’t have a voice in the transformation of their home, so I challenged Tom Emmer. He’s the chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, so basically he’s functioning as Uncle Guido on the Hill, because that’s the way both parties raise their money — groveling to lobbyists and special interests for their committee seats. I wasn’t thrilled about him from the beginning, so I challenged him. He won by 11 votes at the endorsing convention, but they violated the rules by unseating my people for late-arriving delegates because he didn’t have it, and they blocked me from the ballot-counting room.”

In 2018, Kern again unsuccessfully challenged Emmer for his seat. “In the meantime,” she told us, “I had done a lot of research on refugee resettlement, and the fact is the Somalis really don’t meet the definition to be refugees. No one invaded their country; they didn’t flee because of their race or religion. Many go back in the summertime for vacation, and issues come up such as they don’t want to have to pay their rent while they’re gone.”

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), a “refugee” is:

(A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, or (B) in such special circumstances as the President after appropriate consultation (as defined in section 1157(e) of this title) may specify, any person who is within the country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, within the country in which such person is habitually residing, and who is persecuted or who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The term “refugee” does not include any person who ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of any person on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For purposes of determinations under this chapter, a person who has been forced to abort a pregnancy or to undergo involuntary sterilization, or who has been persecuted for failure or refusal to undergo such a procedure or for other resistance to a coercive population control program, shall be deemed to have been persecuted on account of political opinion, and a person who has a well founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure or subject to persecution for such failure, refusal, or resistance shall be deemed to have a well founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion.

While referring readers to the INA, USCIS defines refugees as “someone who:

  • Is located outside of the United States
  • Is of special humanitarian concern to the United States
  • Demonstrates that they were persecuted or fear persecution due to race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group
  • Is not firmly resettled in another country
  • Is admissible to the United States”

“With Ilhan Omar,” Kern expounded, “I happened to notice some very interesting things. One day, I came across an article — I don’t remember if it was another article or the Star Tribune‘s article about Omar winning her primary in 2018 and she was 36. At any rate, she had her birthday the following October 4 and went into Congress the following January at 37 years old.

“I really did not plan to run for Congress again. In 2020, I spoke with Independent candidate Chris Kelley‘s campaign manager and I said, ‘You’re already in the race. Just file with the court to make a simple request for verification of her citizenship,’ and no one would do it. The campaign manager said, ‘Well, it seems too much like a “birther” issue, like Obama’s deal.’ But I said, ‘But it’s not; we’re not looking for a birth certificate in a third-world country; we either have it or we don’t.’

“I was talking to my husband and said, ‘I guess I’m the only one who would challenge her, because it’s very dangerous to have a foreign national sitting on any intelligence committee, and Omar does.’ I think the Democrat-run states like Minnesota have figured out if they adopt the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ attitude toward this, then they can get away with allowing all these foreign-born people who are flooding our country, whether they’re refugees or illegals, to register to vote and sit in our Congress. I don’t think the American people are aware of that.

“Michele Bachmann was the representative for Congressional District 6 and was reportedly a dual citizen of Switzerland and the U.S. I don’t know if she still is because she’s not forthcoming about it. That’s one of the things I thought about and that if I ever went to Congress, I would try to push for legislation that you cannot serve in the Congress with dual citizenship. Now you need a law to make sure we’re following the Constitution, apparently.”

Editor’s Note: According to Wikipedia, “In May 2012 it was reported that [Michele Bachmann’s husband] Marcus Bachmann had registered for Swiss citizenship, and thus, under Swiss nationality law, so would Michele and their children.[225] Within two days of the first reports of Bachmann’s dual citizenship,[226] Michele Bachmann announced that she had written to the Swiss consulate to withdraw her Swiss citizenship.[227]

“Because I’m familiar with Minnesota,” Kern said, “I felt like, ‘If I don’t try to do this now, we’re going to end up with many people in the Congress who are not looking out for our best interests; they have a different agenda.”

As of this writing, Kern does not have a court date but told us, “I’m just hoping and praying that the judge who’s been assigned to the case now can read what I’ve put together and say, ‘Yes, what is the harm in a simple request to ask for their official naturalization records?’

“I can’t find anything on the internet saying Don Samuels naturalized,” Kern continued. “What’s unusual, too, about Ilhan Omar, is she’s gone out of her way to say she was born in 1982. If you go to ilhanomar.com, she has a whole layout with pictures, but there’s nothing that says, “This is the day my dad naturalized and we gained U.S. citizenship.” There are no happy pictures of them celebrating. Neither does Don Samuels. This is a slippery slope, and we either stop it now or not.”

Kern faults both political parties for the erosion in standards to verify eligibility, and specifically citizenship status, for candidates for public office. “I believe the Republicans aren’t really doing much of anything,” she said. “They’re not being vocal on issues like this that are very critical. All of them take an oath to defend the Constitution, and none of them are doing that. It’s as if the oath is meaningless and only a step in the process.”

Prior to publication, The Post & Email contacted Omar’s congressional office, Samuels’s campaign and Simon’s office. While we did not hear back by press time other than an auto-reply from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, this article will be updated with any response(s) received.


Update, 3:28 p.m. EDT: The following response was received from the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office at 2:38 p.m. EDT:

Good afternoon Sharon,

We do not comment on pending litigation.

However, there are some public documents that you may be interested in that I have attached.

Feel free to call if you have any other questions.

Cassondra Knudson
Deputy Communications Director/Press Secretary

Office of Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon
180 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Phone:  651-297-8919
Website: https://www.sos.state.mn.us/

The documents Knudson attached are below.

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  1. Hamilton Fish, I have read what you have written here in reply to others. Sir I am concerned by your absolute head in the sand stance. Protect and defend Ms. Omar no matter what? We are not to ask for proof of citizenship from our elected officials? Why? There has to be a reason you are so staunchly backing Ms Ilhan Omar. Has she proven her righteousness and moral superiority? Perhaps we need to go back and listen to some of her past speeches and “off the cuff” quips concerning the Jewish population. ( Maybe the entire squad needs to be re-examined) Disgusting, disgraceful and deceitful. A wolf is sheep’s clothing sir.
    Full disclosure, I know AJ Kern. There’s no nonsense in this woman.
    This is not a frivolous law suit. She is asking a legitimate question. She has every right to ask this question. Many Americans want to know the answer to this question. I came here just to read this article. Not intending to comment. This country is in such miserable shape. Thank God for people like AJ Kern. There’s so much dishonesty and hatred for other ethnic groups and religions. (again listen to Ms. Omar’s past speeches. Extremely anti Semitic) (sickening) I am a Christian. It’s my duty to stand up for the Jewish community. It’s every Americans duty to take care of their fellow human beings and be a patriot. From what I’ve read that’s exactly what AJ Kern is doing. Don’t make her concerns trivial or frivolous. They are not. Why can’t Ms. Kern have an honest straight forward documented answer? She just wants the truth. This country has given a lot to Ms. Omar. This country is owed a documented truthful answer. God Bless this great land of ours.

  2. “….first woman of color….”
    Every person, male or female, on earth has a color.
    You can find your color in a super-duper size box of crayons.
    Once you find your crayon color, claim racist privileges to the government, make the world bow down to you, and tell ’em to take that birth certificate and hide it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  3. So, instead of “putting the issue to bed” by providing proof of his citizenship, he gets the claim dismissed… Hmm… Seems to me he doesn’t want to provide proof – we’re just supposed to take his word for it, just like Ilhan Omar, who hasn’t even bothered to respond to the claim yet.

    1. My understanding of the documents sent to us by the Secretary of State’s office is that the SOS, represented by the Minnesota Atty. Gen., is asking the court to dismiss the case; however, no hearing has taken place as of now.

      1. “Kern’s complaint is based upon the absence of any evidence released by either Samuels or Omar, and Simon’s alleged failure to require proof, that each meets the U.S. Constitution’s citizenship requirement of “seven years a citizen of the United States” in order to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives in light of their births outside the country.”

        It was a miscarriage of justice/rush to judgement for the court to dismiss the case rather than reserve judgement until June 1, 2022, the day after the deadline for candidates to file an affidavit of candidacy with the Minnesota Secretary of State. At that point the court could have requested Simon provide evidence that Samuels and/or Omar met the “seven years a citizen of the United States” criteria.

        1. I have just confirmed with AJ Kern that no order has been issued in the case yet, so it is a misunderstanding that the case has been dismissed. The Secretary of State’s document package concluded a Motion to Dismiss, but that has not been ruled on at this time.

        2. The case hasn’t yet been dismissed, but it eventually will be.

          As the Secretary of State’s office already explained to Kern, there’s no law requiring proof of eligibility. And similar to past eligibility challenges, no court is going to order production of something not required by law.

  4. Bingo! what this article points out are two things, election fraud on the part of unqualified candidates running for office stealing voters, votes, delegates and money from voters allowed by apathetic party leadership to effect “fair and clean elections”. Changing paperwork like Nancy Pelosi for example, signing two certificates of nomination for the Obama Biden Ticket in 2008 one of which said they were qualified under the US constitution and the other did not. The State of Hawaii refused the certificate of nomination that included the verbiage stating the Obama Biden team is qualified under the constitution because they knew that could not be proven by a mere certificate of live birth that could come from anywhere, but they required a solid Birth Certificate which did not exist in the HDOH. No problem though, Pelosi removed the mention “under the US Constitution” from yet a second signed “Certificate of Nomination” of the Obama, Biden team and submitted that. (I used these two documents in my complaints to the Texas Secretary of State’s office as exhibits in my election fraud complaints to the State of Texas Secretary of State and Attorney General as evidence of malfeasance on the part of the DNC in 2008, 2014 and 2016. They basically said “Go To H”.

    My contention is the corruption that exists in presidential elections that includes down ballot races that is now being exploited by the likes of Soros and others trying to change the local landscape under our noses by throwing tens of millions of dollars into the coffers of unwanted single issue politicians like Michael Bloomberg.

    That in itself is corruption and criminal, then add unqualified presidential candidates in my view, Barack Obama, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbord, John McCain and they have been allowed to get on the ballots of every state in the Union by equally corrupt election party officials being Secretaries of State, party chairs, Attorney Generals, and apathetic party leaders. The reason I say this is not just angry speculation, I have personal experience and I have receipts of much of this by laxed lawless electioneering going on by both parties. A natural-born citizen are the natives or children born of citizen parents in the country. Very simple. US Territories, Consulates and Military installations are excluded as US soil. This is codified by the US State Department as well as Immigration Services. There is a major difference between a “citizen and natural-born citizen. Natural-born does not require an act of Congress, Treaty, or Diplomatic Affairs to obtain “naturalization” as a US citizen.

    We knew Omar has citizenship issues but we also have no judiciary to ferret out and investigate charges of this sort of an unqualified candidate. This is true of both parties who are going to have to step up their game. Right now because of the 2020 hostile takeover, this country is still suffering more each day because of election fraud from unqualified candidates for office in the form of unequalled inflation, fuel, food prices and more.

    1. It isn’t the judiciary’s job to investigate candidates; the job of the judiciary is to evaluate the evidence presented by a challenger.

      1. Please cite which judiciary even accepted, never mind evaluated, the evidence presented by a challenger that the 2008 Democrat Party of Hawaii did not certify Obama-Biden eligible to serve “under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.” as it was required to do under Hawaii election law in order for their names to be on Hawaii’s 2008 general election ballot.

        1. Are you aware of any challenger ever presenting any court with any claim or evidence about Obama’s 2008 Hawaiian certificate of nomination?

          Because, again, it isn’t the judiciary’s job to investigate. It is the judiciary’s job to adjudicate only the lawsuits that were actually filed, and not to adjudicate the lawsuits that people wished were filed.

  5. In addition to the procedural defects noted in the motion to dismiss, the burden always is on the challenger to provide evidence that a candidate is ineligible.

    1. Proof of eligibility, such as a VALID birth certificate and other vetting, is inversely proportional to the level of authority. According to the data provided in this article, I as an enlistee in the armed forces required more proof of eligibility than an Article I candidate or an Article II candidate.

        1. You’re forgetting that Kern filed the complaint because the proof was not out there to find, or she would have found it. To say that she didn’t show that there are questions that need to be addressed is ridiculous, and just abetting the (continuing, and soon to explode) fraud. That Simon refused to show proof and put the entire thing “to bed” is extremely telling – that he doesn’t want to do so. That he doesn’t want to prove his citizenship status is tantamount to not being proud to be American. That, too, tells volumes.

        2. I didn’t forget why Kern filed, but that Kern couldn’t obtain the information she desires is not the court’s problem. Kern, like any other litigant, must show the courts evidence.

          If Kern believes there are problems, and the candidates are not responsive to her requests, then, as always, Kern needs to convince the voters that there is a problem.

          Or get the law changed. But filing a baseless lawsuit will accomplish neither of those tasks.

          And if your elected representatives do not appear be interested in changing the law, then work to have them replaced by representatives who will.