Everything about Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant xenophobia reeks to the abyss below of hypocrisy. His family were immigrants from Germany; his wife is an immigrant from Slovenia; he employs immigrant workers to run his businesses.
Which makes it even more appalling that Donald Trump’s administration has made it a top priority to deport as many illegal immigrants as they can, greatly expanding the powers of ICE agents and tearing families apart for unpaid parking tickets or other petty infractions.
What Trump should do is read this letter that his grandfather wrote in 1905, begging Prince-Regent Luitpold of Bavaria to not deport him over – wait for it – dodging the draft, a move which apparently runs in the Trump family.
Translated from the original German by Harper’s Bazaar, it is a moving and heartfelt letter that perfectly describes the struggle of an immigrant and the terror that deportation instills in people.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
Friedrich Trump’s request was denied, and he was repatriated to the United States, where he ran brothels and bars during the Yukon Gold Rush.
For someone whose family has been so shaped by immigration laws and deportation, one would think that Trump might have a little sympathy for the millions of people, like his wife, that have come to this country in search of a new life and new opportunities. But it’s just further proof that Trump is a heartless egomaniac who cares nothing for anybody that isn’t himself.
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