Press Statement: Ken Cuccinelli Should Consider His Own Family Heritage



Mr. Cuccinelli’s Own Immigrant Past Should Give Him Pause


Ken Cuccinelli’s statement to NPR reporter Rachel Martin essentially rewriting Emma Lazarus’s words as memorialized at the base of The Statue of Liberty are an embarrassment to all Americans. How far the Republican Party has fallen, from the days when Ronald Reagan knew in his bones that immigration and the American Dream are forever entwined. Today, Cuccinelli’s cruel words reflect just why Donald Trump is losing even in bastions of conservative politics like Utah.

Perhaps Ken Cuccinelli should reflect and consider his own family heritage. His father was of Italian ancestry. His mother was of Irish ancestry. He graduated Gonzaga High School the same year President Ronald Reagan called for amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

Cuccinelli’s parents grew up in an America where “Irish Need Not Apply” signs were common and where Italian Americans were targeted often for hate crimes and denied equal opportunities for work and Roman Catholics were denied the right to buy homes in covenanted communities. Cuccinelli’s parents witnessed the overcoming of those hurdles when a young man named John F. Kennedy was elected president, and the year he was born was the year President Lyndon B. Johnson—who was from a border state—signed the Fair Housing Act into law.

Similar claims of laziness and leeching off the public’s goodwill were made against Italian and Irish immigrants back then. Similar efforts to restrict and discriminate against Italian and Irish immigrants were made then, as well. On every level, Cucinelli lacks the moral fiber of his ancestors, as they came as poor and needy immigrants seeking a better tomorrow. We would like to remind him: the last we checked, hypocrisy remains a sin in his purported faith, Roman Catholicism. Mr. Cuccinelli should spend more time in mass seeking moral guidance, and a lot less time spewing racially charged rhetoric to please his false idol, Donald Trump.

Immigration & Cucinelli’s Upbringing

Fairfax, Virginia, where Mr. Cucienelli currently resides, is one of the most diverse and immigrant-dense areas of our country. Countless families of Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Latino and East Asian origin have struggled to achieve the American Dream in Northern Virginia. Edison, New Jersey, where Mr. Cucinelli was born, is home to a vibrant Indian American and Pakistani American diaspora. His alma mater, George Mason University is the academic home of students hailing from 130 countries. It is the most diverse college or university in Virginia, a state where Mr. Cucinelli failed to be elected governor, in no small part because of his promotion of a less pluralistic vision for the state.

All in all, Mr. Cuccinelli’s reliance on stereotypes and generalizations that were used to discriminate against his parents and grandparents just proves how deeply white supremacy and racial nationalism have infiltrated the broken Trump administration. On Election Day 2020, Deliverance is coming.


Hamza Khan