German genealogist and journalist Jennifer Mendelsohn gave conservative commentator Tomi Lahren a lesson on her own history after Lahren made disparaging comments about immigrants on a talk show over the weekend.
.@TomiLahren: "You don't just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language… https://t.co/8yslnna4ZX— Fox News (@Fox News) 1526173002.0
Appearing on Fox's Watter's World this past Saturday, Lahren told host Jesse Waters that impoverished immigrants that don't speak English should be prohibited from entering the United States.
Lahren was defending remarks made by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who last week told NPR that undocumented immigrants are “not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society.” She said:
These people need to understand that it’s a privilege to be an American and it’s a privilege that you work toward. It’s not a right. You don’t just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice.
That’s not what this country is based on. We are based on the rule of law, and we believe in bringing the best people into this country to make it even better. We don’t believe in importing poverty. Trust me, I live in California. We have enough poverty. We have enough issues. We don’t need anymore.
Mendelsohn identified Lahren's great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother through census records and noted that none of them spoke English when they arrived in or after they had lived in the United States. Additionally, records show that Lahren's great-grandfather's Baptism in 1884 was recorded in Norwegian (Mendelsohn corrected the baptismal date).
Except the 1930 census says Tomi's 3x great-grandmother had been here for 41 years and still spoke German. Her 2n… https://t.co/R7BBAJIq3S— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526223708.0
@CleverTitleTK @joanwalsh A+— Neal Rogers (@Neal Rogers) 1526224763.0
Mendelsohn then followed up with a series of tweets in which she explained that "people are people, and always have been." She expressed her confusion as to why conservatives assail today's immigrants as bad while idolizing those who came here generations ago.
I'll forever be mystified by Joe Schmo twitter user who bemoans how the country is no longer "close nit" and someho… https://t.co/AWUPh24WpX— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526244124.0
Mendelsohn also knocked the right's "demonization of current immigrants" as "dumb."
Some of our ancestors broke laws, some were model citizens. Some never assimilated or spoke English. Some did.
Blind lionization of the people who came before us may be just as dumb as the wholesale demonization of current immigrants.
People are people, and always have been. Some of our ancestors broke laws, some were model citizens. Some never as… https://t.co/0mixGZrhPx— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526244315.0
Mendelsohn continued, calling out "nativists'" hypocrisy regarding their praise of their own families' immigration stories as they chastise people trying to come to the United States today. She then says we need to "dig out" why the right does "not want these people here."
What I'm trying to show here is that these nativists can't keep trying to back up their argument by saying "the co… https://t.co/PKwZVeKXfG— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526244455.0
Mendelsohn also asked why it's acceptable to share stories of ancestors paying off officials to sign papers, "but castigate contemporary immigrants who behave in much the same way."
Oh, and it's also worth examining why you might laud your own ancestors’ behavior as pluck or ingenuity – “So he br… https://t.co/uLznghy3U8— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526244864.0
Mendelsohn concluded that Lahren should consider how similar her own family's past is to immigrants of today, before deciding to "push a specious agenda."
This is not about playing gotcha. But as long as people like Lahren continue to push a specious agenda that suggests today's immigrants are somehow wholly different from previous ones, I'll keep showing just how alike they really are.
One last thing before I shut off my phone: This is not about playing gotcha. But as long as people like Lahren cont… https://t.co/A8O940b8gA— Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸 (@Jennifer Mendelsohn 🇺🇸) 1526226645.0
Lahren has not replied to Mendelsohn nor has she responded to requests for follow-up. Twitter, on the other hand, shared their thoughts on Lahren's comments.
@CleverTitleTK @joanwalsh Those who choose to ignore their own stories demonstrate their ignorance every day.— Nancy M Tice (@Nancy M Tice) 1526224978.0
@BlueSpiderwort @CleverTitleTK @joanwalsh Perhaps she’s arguing (correctly) that she doesn’t deserve to be here and… https://t.co/Tpc1xn0JN3— Aninda Biggums (@Aninda Biggums) 1526237236.0