I just found out today that I, and Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, have “immigrant backgrounds” and, hence, are not Real Americans™. I know this is true because Fox’s Laura Ingraham said so!
In one of her many, many right wing screeds, Ingraham was complaining that Justice Sotomayor used the phrase “undocumented immigrants”:
Ingraham highlighted Sotomayor’s comment on her radio show the following day. Ingraham suggested that using the term “undocumented immigrant” demonstrated a failure of Sotomayor’s duty “to defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.” According to Ingraham, the word choice shows that Sotomayor’s “allegiance obviously goes to her immigrant family background and not to the Constitution of the United States.”
Justice Sotomayor has an “immigrant background?”
That was news to me and has completely changed how I view myself as a Real American™. Like Justice Sotomayor, I am a Puerto Rican (well, half). I had NO idea that Puerto Ricans were “immigrants!” I mean, my father arrived in the New World from his obscure, foreign country in or about 1949 when he was three. He does not have a green card and never applied for citizenship. His passage into America is completely, dare I say it? Undocumented!
My god! Am I an anchor baby?! Is Justice Sotomayor one? Are we even a Real Americans™?!
I was starting to hyperventilate at this news. I had a driver’s license! A Social Security number! I’ve voted! Was I part of the widespread voter fraud the right constantly rages about?
Would I now have to lie to the authorities about my father to keep him from being deported to a third world hell hole?!*
Ummm… Puerto Ricans have been US citizens since 1917.
But just about the time I was going to faint from the horror of not being a part of Laura Ingraham’s Real America™, I recalled that Puerto Ricans have been legally recognized as American citizens since long before I was born. More specifically, The Jones Act of Puerto Rico was signed into law in 1917.
Well hot diggity! My abuela (grandmother for you gringos) is 87 which means she was born an American citizen. Justice Sotomayor is 59 and that means SHE was born as an American citizen. Presumably her parents had her before they were 37 so that means THEY were almost certainly born American citizens as well (do the math). Oh, by the way, Justice Sotomayor was born in the Bronx.
I wonder if Laura Ingraham’s grandparents were born in America? And if not, does that mean she had to choose between being a Real American™ and her “immigrant background?”
Or is it more likely that, to her, people like Justice Sotomayor, with their Hispanic last names are just pretending to be a Real Americans™? I would like to point out that even if my abuela had not been born an American citizen, she still fits the right wing definition of a Real American™ far more closely than Ingraham herself: My abuela was a homemaker until all of her many many children were grown (I lose count but I think it was 13 or so). Ingraham adopted three children while she was in her forties. She has not quit her job to be a full time parent.
My abuela had a farm where she raised livestock, which she killed and ate. I doubt Laura Ingraham has ever killed and butchered her own food. My abuela is what conservatives refer to as “salt of the earth.” Ingraham is one of them “city folk.”
My abuela was the mayor of a small town in Puerto Rico which she had moved back to after her children were grown and my abuelo (grandfather if you’re still confused) had died. Laura Ingraham has, as far as I can tell, never been married and never held public office.
My abuela is 87 and suffering from dementia. Yet, she’s twice the woman and ten times the Real American™ that Laura Ingraham will ever be.
Further, Justice Sotomayor is, well, a Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Puerto Rican (aka American) to sit on the Court. Laura Ingraham is a bobble head on Fox News that no one will remember in 30 years. So I guess it doesn’t even matter if she has an “immigrant background” or not. This is America and it was founded and built by immigrants, something the right can’t seem to wrap their brains around.
But please Laura, tell us again about how women like my abuela and Justice Sotomayor have an “immigrant background” with the clear implication they are not a Real American™ like you. It’s always fun watching conservatives wear their prejudice on their sleeves.
*Puerto Rico is not a third world hellhole unless you’re a bigoted asshole that thinks adopting a Guatemalan protects you from being called a racist (I’m looking at you, Ingraham). It’s freaking gorgeous and if you’ve never been there, you’re missing out.
Here’s the video: