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The United States is — and has always been — a nation of immigrants. You wouldn't know it from some of the current rhetoric.

Donald Trump rode into presidential office on a promise to build a wall along the U.S. southern border and kick undocumented immigrants out of the country. Since becoming president, Trump has even taken aim at legal immigration, supporting plans to reduce the number of application approvals, ending the diversity lottery, and setting various "merit" benchmarks.

It's not just a Trump thing. This photo of an anti-immigration rally in California comes from 2006. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.


One genealogist decided to put things in perspective.

Jennifer Mendelsohn is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in places like The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more. About five years ago, Mendelsohn took an interest in genealogy, using her skills as a reporter to hone a new craft: helping people track down long-lost relatives.

Since March 2017, Mendelsohn has been working on a new project she calls #ResistanceGenealogy, where she compares the statements and positions of prominent commentators and politicians with their own family tree to see how their ancestors would have fared under similar laws. Spoiler alert: not very well in most cases. Let's take a look at some of what she's found.

Hungarian immigrants arriving in America. Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images.

1. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who said "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."

In a tweet showing support for anti-immigration Netherlands politician Geert Wilders, King wrote that "culture and demographics are about destiny," adding that "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." Yikes!

Asked to clarify what he meant on CNN's "New Day," King doubled down. "I've said the same thing as far as 10 years ago to the German people and to any population of people that is a declining population that isn't willing to have enough babies to reproduce themselves. I’ve said to them, 'You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up and that you need to teach your children your values.'"

Mendelsohn was able to pull up records appearing to be from King's grandmother, Freda, marking her arrival in the U.S. in 1894. According to King's suggestion, the country would have been better off if she'd been kept out to allow for more U.S.-born children.

2. White House adviser Stephen Miller helped craft a policy using "English proficiency" in ranking immigration candidates.

Miller helped shape the RAISE Act, which would eliminate the "diversity lottery," implement a "merit-based" system, and prioritize applicants who speak English. In a January 2018 interview with Fox News, Miller said that his goal was an immigration system that "produces more assimilation."

By those standards, according to Mendelsohn's research, Miller's great-grandmother, who didn't speak English, probably wouldn't have been welcomed here (and neither would he).

3. Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, "Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries come here?"

A conservative commentator and Fox News host, Carlson has a history of inflammatory comments about immigrants. In June 2017, he asked, "Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries come here?" America has always billed itself as a land of opportunity where someone from what Carlson would call a "failing country" can work hard and live out their dreams. Carlson's own ancestors seem to have believed in that as well.

Mendelsohn dug up a letter that appears to be from a relative of Carlson's explaining why he came to America in the first place: "Partly because of the narrowness of opportunities ... I was seized at about this time of a violent desire to leave the country and seek my fortune in foreign parts."

4. Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio targeted suspected undocumented immigrants and mistreated inmates who couldn't speak English.

Arpaio took a lot of anti-immigrant actions during his time as Maricopa County Sheriff (the ACLU has a non-comprehensive list of some of his more egregious acts). In fact, it's how he built his reputation.

Of those, one move, discovered by the U.S. Justice Department, stands out: Arpaio singled out Latina inmates who couldn't speak English, denied them access to basic sanitary items, forced them to "remain with sheets or pants soiled from menstruation," and threw them in "solitary confinement for extended periods of time because of their inability to understand and thus follow a command given in English." His excuse? "They are in the United States, and they should start speaking English," he said in a 2006 interview.

As it turns out, according to Mendelsohn's research, Arpaio's immigrant ancestors didn't speak English for a long time after coming to the U.S. Additionally, Arpaio's well-documented disdain for "chain migration" (a derogatory term used to describe family-based immigration) seems especially hypocritical given that Mendelsohn found more than a dozen members of Arpaio's family who came to the country using that very method.

5. White House chief of staff John Kelly derided undocumented immigrants as people who "don't integrate well."

Kelly made news for comments about immigrants saying they are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society" and adding that "they don’t speak English ... they don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills."

According to Mendelsohn's research, Kelly's own great-grandfather had lived in the U.S. for 18 years, during which he didn't make an effort to become a citizen or speak English. It seems his own relatives are precisely the kind of people he says he doesn't want in the country.

6. Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren said, "Stop rewarding illegal behavior and put law-abiding Americans first."

"You don't just come into this country with low skills, low education, not understanding the language and come into our country because someone says it makes them feel nice," Lahren said on Fox News. "That's not what this country is based on."

In a tweet, she shrugged off suggestions that we should protect DACA beneficiaries, saying, "Or we could stop rewarding illegal behavior and put law-abiding Americans first."

Mendelsohn discovered that Lahren's own extended family wouldn't have lived up to the standards she set. Speaking English? Several lived in the country for decades without picking up the language. Not "rewarding illegal behavior"? Lahren's great-great-grandfather Constantin Dietrich was prosecuted for forging his own citizenship papers.

The truth is there's absolutely nothing new about this anti-immigrant rhetoric. It's just that the targets have changed over time.

Mendelsohn's Twitter feed is full of political cartoons dating back to the 1860s warning that immigrants pose a threat to American ideas, culture, and institutions. The idea that immigrants pose some sort of existential threat to the American way of life is as old as the country itself.

"One thing you learn very quickly when you spend as much time as I do immersed in genealogical records is that with a few notable exceptions — particularly African-Americans and Native Americans — every American family story pretty much goes back to an immigrant arriving on a boat in search of opportunity. It's just a question of how long ago it was," Mendelsohn says.

She hopes that by providing this much-needed historical context — by pointing out that the same stereotypes being used against immigrants now were once used against many of these critics' own ancestors — she can help bridge the gap between ideologies. Her project isn't about shaming anybody; it's about asking them to consider their own history.

"By using the historical record rather than relying on stereotypes and fear mongering ... people realize just how alike we all really are," she adds. "I want it to bring people together. Three of my grandparents were immigrants. My mother-in-law is an immigrant. My best friend's parents were both immigrants. I've always been incredibly proud of that."

A common rebuttal to Mendelsohn's work is that things were different back then and that people came here the right way. She has thoughts on that too.

"The 'legal' argument is specious because illegal immigration is a wholly contemporary concept," she says. "I recently saw a 1903 ship's manifest where a man said only that he was coming to America to meet a friend, 'address unknown.' Many of our ancestors pretty much waltzed in, only having to prove they were healthy and not criminals. That needs to be taken into consideration when you laud your ancestors for coming 'legally.' There's also a lot of mythologizing about our ancestors doing everything the 'right' way that evaporates when you look at the historical record."

Jennifer Mendelsohn. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Mendelsohn.

"Many of our ancestors cut corners as well. Many never learned English. Many never became citizens. There's no shame in that whatsoever. That what makes America America. People are people, and the immigrants hoping to come here today and realize the American dream are no different than our ancestors were, except that they may come from different parts of the world. Which is, of course, what many of these people are actually responding to."

In the end, the message is clear, and it is simple: We need to stop using fear to divide one another.

This comes up all the time. When announcing his run for president, Trump warned of immigrants who "have lots of problems," bringing drugs and crime to our country. Politically, maybe that message resonates with voters (he was elected, after all). Is that really who we want to be as a country, though?

"The bottom line is that there is a great fear and prejudice against immigrants, and it's the exact same fear and prejudice that has been directed against immigrants for centuries," Mendelsohn adds. "The people now speaking out against immigrants are, ironically, descended from people who were themselves discriminated against, and I'm here to remind them of that."

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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