Donald Trump wants 'extreme vetting' on immigrants...but where's his own family from?

Whilst Donald Trump wants to implement "extreme vetting" for immigrants. we take a look at where his family is from

Donald Trump wants to implement "extreme vetting" for immigrants

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Donald Trump has announced during a speech in Ohio he wants to implement "extreme vetting" of immigrants, in order to combat Islamic extremism. He has pledged to block immigrants from countries linked to terrorism, and subject new arrivals to an 'ideological test'.

It is just the latest tirade by Trump against immigrants. The billionaire Republican presidential candidate has vowed to ban all Muslims from entering the US (his latest plans appear to be an attempt to water down this pledge) and talked of building a fence along America's border with Mexico.

So, it's fair to say 'the Donald' has a strong view on immigrants and immigration. He believes in the American way of life, the American dream. He talks of making America great again.

But what about the Donald's own background? Just how American is this self-styled crusader for the good ol' US of A?

Well, for a man whose stance on immigrants is arguably his signature policy, Trump's own family is remarkably cosmopolitan.  His mother, Mary MacLeod, was from Scotland, born on the Isle of Lewis in 1912, she met his father Frank Trump when she was on holiday in New York. They got married in 1936 and settled in Queens, then a hotbed of immigration from western Europe.

Interestingly, if you go to Trump's campaign website and click on the 'about' section, you'll find no mention of the fact that his mother was born on the other side of the Atlantic. He doesn't seem to focus on it in his campaign speeches either.

When one gets to the grandparents, it's even more interesting. Trump's parents were from Germany - Kallstadt to be exact. Trump's grandfather, Friedrich, was an illegal immigrant, and had a particularly colourful life; after moving west in 1901 to cash in on the gold rush, he started a business empire which, according to Trump biographer Gwenda Blair, included alcohol and prostitution. After war was declared, then-US president Woodrow Wilson described Germans living in America, such as Fred Trump, as "alien enemies"  - just the sort of language Trump himself is wont to use against immigrants today. 

A hundred years after Wilson and his alien enemies, Germany is unrecognisable from the country which took on America during the First World War, a liberal, progressive country at the heart of Europe. Yet modern Germany has had huge domestic security problems arising from a network of domestic terror cells. A cynic might question whether the country falls into Trump's 'linked with terrorism' category.

Of course they say you can't choose your family. But you can choose your partner, and Trump's wife Melania is herself an immigrant, having been born in Slovenia and enjoyed a successful modelling career which took her across Europe. Melania is actually Trump's third wife: his second, Marla Maples, was born in America, but his first spouse Ivana was born in the Czech Republic and came to the US via Canada. Neither first nor third is the exactly the typical American girl-next-door.

Yet, if Trump's campaign has taught us one thing, it's that, in politics, you should never let the facts get in the way of effective rhetoric. The Republican nominee knows that immigration is a matter of vital importance to the average US citizen, so he's not about to drop it any time soon - or dredge up his own rags-to-riches immigrant story.