Note to Rep. Virgil Goode: Keith Ellison Is Not An Immigrant

In a letter sent this month to his constituents, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) attacked incoming Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress:

The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office…

In the letter, Goode repeatedly justifies his attack as related to immigration policy:

We need to stop illegal immigration totally and reduce legal immigration and end the diversity visas policy pushed hard by President Clinton and allowing many persons from the Middle East to come to this country. I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped.


One problem: Keith Ellison is not an immigrant. In fact, his ancestors have been living on the continent for over 250 years, before the United States was established as a country:

Mr. Ellison dismissed Mr. Goode’s comments, saying they seemed ill informed about his personal origins as well as about Constitutional protections of religious freedom. “I’m not an immigrant,” added Mr. Ellison, who traces his American ancestors back to 1742. “I’m an African-American.”

In other words, Goode’s attack is not only bigoted, it’s also ignorant. Nevertheless, Ellison told the New York Times, “I’m looking forward to making friends with Representative Goode, or at least getting to know him. I want to let him know that there’s nothing to fear. The fact that there are many different faiths, many different colors and many different cultures in America is a great strength.”

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