He left his country at 16, feeling he could not earn a good living in his hometown of just about 1,000 people, and being too frail to endure the hard labor of working the family fields like his siblings.
He travelled 350 miles north alone, and crossed the body of water that separated his country from the US. He stepped into America without a visa, nor a paper of any kind. He did it just in the hope of not being rejected.
The risk was there, as there were people – powerful Americans – who did not want more immigrants from his country in the US, people who had publicly questioned the intelligence of his compatriots and doubted their assimilability in American society.
“Those who come here are generally the most stupid of their own nation”, the most prominent of these people had declared, complaining publicly that “by herding together” they would “establish their language and manners to the exclusion of ours”.
If the name of that teenager had been Federico Triunfo, his country had been Mexico and this had happened today, he would have been detained and detained in a border facility. He would have possibly been expelled back to his home country.
But his name was Friedrich Trump, he was German, he arrived 133 years ago, and he was let in. As a result, his grandson sits now in the Oval Office.
The person who made it possible for Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the United States left his Bavarian hometown as an economic migrant ignoring vile anti-immigrant feelings such as those quoted above by Benjamin Franklyn (yes, the founding father of this country expressed those thoughts about the Germans).
He travelled to Bremen, a port on the North Sea and boarded the SS Eider without being preapproved by any one, without any visa or advanced paper work. On October 19th, 1885 he reached the New York harbor on board of the Eider in the hope that the officials would not find him to be “lunatic” or “a person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge,” and would let him disembark in compliance with the US Immigration Act of 1882.
“Until 1891 there was no screening at departure, and it wasn’t till subsequent laws expanded the grounds for exclusion, particularly with regard to various health conditions, that screenings at arrival became more universal,” says Susan Martin, Donald G. Herzberg Professor Emerita of International Migration at Georgetown University.
The German teenager was accepted into the country, changed his first name into Frederick and seven years later became a US citizen.
One hundred twenty six years after that, his grandson is advocating for the very same arguments used by those who would have denied him access to prevent Hispanic teenagers from having the same opportunity in life.
The word hypocrisy is often abused in politics, but seems most appropriate here.