29 Members of Congress Who Weren't Born in the U.S.
Will President Trump be telling Sen. Ted Cruz to "go back" and fix Canada? Here are 29 members of Congress — on both sides of the aisle — who weren't born in the U.S.
Go Back Where?
In 2019, the United States has 29 members of Congress born outside of the country. President Donald Trump stepped into the festering battle between newly elected progressive Democrats and establishment Democrats in a series of tweets bordering on xenophobia, suggesting that freshman progressive Democrats to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
Although he did not mention them by name, the president was apparently aiming his fiery tweets at freshmen Democratic congresswomen of color: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, New York; Rep. Rashida Talib, Michigan; Rep. Ilhan Omar, Minnesota; and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts. Of the four, only Omar was foreign-born, coming to the United States from Somalia. The four women have been among the most vocal critics of the administration’s handling of the border crisis – and a symbol of the Trump administration’s fractious relationship with Congress. Omar is one of 29 congressional members who were born outside the United States – 24 representatives and five senators. Twenty-five are Democrats and four are Republicans. This total represents members who were either born outside the United States to parents from another country or those born in another country to American parents.
There are 14 congressional members who were born outside the United States, all of whom are Democrats, who became U.S. citizens. Thirteen of the 14 members of Congress born outside of the United States to non-American parents serve in the House of Representatives. Three of them are from Mexico – Salud Carbajal and Raul Ruiz (California) and Jesus Garcia (Illinois), and two are from India – Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois) and Pramila Jayapal (Washington). Other congressional members were born in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Taiwan, Poland, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Guatemala. Some members of the president’s Cabinet were also born in foreign countries, including the Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie, who was born in Germany. It is also worth noting that the president’s wife, Melania, was born in Slovenia and is the 1st first lady born outside the United States since Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president.
If the posts were intended to exploit simmering tensions within the Democratic Party after weeks of messy public infighting, however, they instead gave embattled House Democrats a common opponent to rally against — the president himself.