“American hands will rebuild our nation,” Donald Trump said during a campaign stop in Toledo, Ohio on Wednesday. “Not the hands of people from other nations.”
Nine thoughts on that.
1. America was created by non-Americans and, over time, built by an awful lot of hands from other nations, both literally and figuratively. Railroads, customs, highways, inventions: Immigrants have had a hand in the creation of nearly every part of our country. Not all of those immigrants came here willingly.
2. Over the course of American history, 407 immigrants have served in Congress, building the nation by creating and passing laws. That’s about 3 percent of those that have ever served in the House or Senate.
3. Just because hands are from other nations doesn’t mean they’re not American. In 2014, the Census Bureau estimated that there were about 41 million people in American who were born in another country, 18.8 million of whom are now naturalized citizens. In 2015, there were are a total of 26.3 million citizen and non-citizen immigrants in the labor force, the large majority of whom are here legally. At the same time, the unemployment rate is near post-recession lows.
4. Donald Trump has built his business empire with the hands of people from other nations. Trump Tower was built largely thanks to the labor of Polish immigrants, some of whom were in the country illegally.
5. Trump’s just-opened hotel in Washington was rebuilt with the help of dozens of construction workers from Central America, some of whom also immigrated illegally.
6. Trump has consistently hired foreign guest workers at his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida. CNN reported that in the last 15 years, he’s hired 1,256 foreign workers to do jobs in the United States.
7. Trump’s clothing line and other products are manufactured by non-Americans in other countries. In an interview with a local North Carolina TV station this week, he defended that practice.
The reason I do manufacture things overseas — you know, I have to do this, there is no choice — because they’ve devalued their currency so much that our companies are out of business for the most part. You look at so many of the products that we used to make proudly and they’re out of business — put out of business by China and Mexico and other countries. … So people that buy a lot, like Trump and other people, we have no choice. In many cases, they don’t even sell the product in this country any more. A product we used to use and make proudly, we don’t even make it here.
This has been fact-checked in the past: Trump’s clothes could be made in the United States, and many of the countries where Trump’s products are made are not ones where the currency is manipulated.
8. Donald Trump is the son of an immigrant, and four of his five children are also the children of immigrants. Melania and Ivanka Trump have helped to build America, too.
9. Trump’s grandfather, Frederick Trump, immigrated to the United States and moved to Seattle, Washington where he opened a restaurant and, later, a hotel. When he died in 1918, his wife Elizabeth, also a German immigrant, helped Donald’s father Fred launch his real estate empire.
That her hands were non-American doesn’t seem to have been much of a concern.