Genealogist Confronts Anti-Immigration Public Figures With Their Own Immigrant Histories

Public figures who have espoused anti-immigrant rhetoric are now being confronted with their own families’ immigration histories by a researcher who has grown weary of hypocrisy.

Jennifer Mendelsohn, a genealogist, has illuminated the hypocrisy among public figures like Dan Scavino, Tomi Lahren, and Stephen Miller. Dan Scavino, White House Director of Social Media, tweeted about ending “chain migration,” but what he didn’t expect was to find out about his own “chain.” Mendelsohn uncovered Scavino’s family history and found that his family came from Italy, beginning in 1904, and migrated to the U.S. over a period of years. She replied to his tweet criticizing family-based immigration by tweeting:

“So Dan, let’s say Victor Scavino arrives from Canelli, Italy in 1904, then brother Hector in 1905, brother Gildo in 1912, sister Esther in 1913, & sister Clotilde and their father Giuseppe in 1916, and they live together in NY. Do you think that would count as chain migration?”

After White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller argued U.S. immigration policy should favor immigrants who speak English, Mendelsohn discovered that Miller’s great-grandmother, an immigrant, did not speak any English in 1910. Mendelsohn exposed Miller’s hypocrisy on Twitter.

Following Fox News anchor Tomi Lahren’s anti-immigrant tweet, Mendelsohn found that Lahren’s great-great-grandfather was prosecuted for forging his naturalization papers. He was later indicted by a grand jury but was ultimately acquitted by a jury and became a U.S. citizen.

Mendelsohn said:

“If you know anything about American immigration history, every single generation looks down on the last generation of immigrants and insists that these new immigrants are inferior and can’t possibly become American. It’s just exhausting to have to point this out over and over again. That these same people who see themselves as such quintessential Americans, their ancestors were at one point exactly the kind of newcomers who they’re now saying have no right to be American, aren’t going to fit in in America, aren’t up to snuff. It’s just ridiculous.”

Read the interview with Mendelsohn here: http://www.abeautifulperspective.com/2018/01/17/woman-confronting-public-figures-immigrant-histories/

Blog post by Beverly Rodriguez. Ms. Rodriguez is a senior at Bellarmine University and an intern at The Holm Law Firm, PLLC.

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