Photo: Joshua Blanchard /Getty Images

It’s almost as if cruelty and willful ignorance were related or something. In a story published on left-leaning political site Wonkette, genealogist Jennifer Mendelsohn revealed yesterday that Tomi “locks her car doors when passing a Taco Bell” Lahren is descended from one of those criminal immigrants she wants deported. By that, we mean that one of her ancestors was prosecuted for illegally forging his naturalization paperwork. Puts this tweet in a different light, doesn’t it?:

Now, let’s back up for a moment: The concept of “illegal” immigration didn’t exist in the U.S. until the late 19th century, when the blatantly racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 became the first federal law to regulate newcomers to the U.S. The same racial bias extended into the 1924 Immigration Act, which established quotas for immigration from different parts of the world—quotas that heavily favored western Europe. (Jeff Sessions is a big fan,saying the act “was good for America” in a 2015 interview with none other than Steve Bannon.)

Somewhere in between, Tomi Lahren’s great-great-grandfather Constantin Dietrich came to the U.S. from the city of Odessa, then part of South Russia. Dietrich’s obituary says he came to the U.S. in 1905, and he initially applied to become a naturalized American citizen in 1909. However, once he did the paperwork conservatives are always screaming about, he changed the date of his original declaration from 1909 to 1911, because he waited too long to complete the process, and needed to fudge the numbers in order to disguise the period where he was—wait for it—undocumented. He got caught, though, and went on trial for forgery in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1917. He was ultimately acquitted.

Now, none of this is all that unusual. Many Americans (at least, those whose ancestors were not brought here unwillingly as slaves) have stories like this in their backgrounds. The reason for bringing this up is to point out that attempting to criminalize large swaths of the American population by branding them “illegals” is not about law and order. It’s about cruelty and racism, and it’s ahistorical bullshit to boot. That, and if the Russians want Tomi Lahren back, they can absolutely have her.

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