New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo failed at his attempt to proclaim solidarity with immigrants when he declared himself “undocumented” and challenged officials to deport him.
The 60-year-old Democrat was born and raised in New York but didn’t let facts deter him from his eyebrow-raising speech at a bill-signing ceremony last week.
“I’m undocumented. You want to deport an undocumented person, start with me because I’m an undocumented person,” Cuomo said.
The liberal governor criticized the “extreme conservative movement” for being “anti-immigrant” as he sought to align himself with the plight of immigrants. Of course, the glaring issue is that Cuomo is not an immigrant.
The New York City native was born in Queens to parents who were also born in New York. His father, Mario Cuomo, was a successful lawyer before entering politics and becoming the governor of New York.
“I’m an Italian-American. I came from poor Italian-Americans who came here. You know what they called Italian-Americans back in the day? They called them wops,” Cuomo continued, noting the slur. “You know what wop stood for? Without papers.”
Except, according to the Online Etymology dictionary, the slur comes from southern Italian dialect “guappo,” which means “dandy, dude, stud.” The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary also notes that the slur originates from the Italian word “guappo,” meaning “street tough” or “thug.”
Cuomo’s bizarre speech came one day after he made similar comments to a group of union workers, saying he was “raised by poor immigrants from South Jamaica.”
Immigrant advocacy groups immediately slammed Cuomo for his attempt at solidarity.
Make the Road Action, New York’s largest immigrant-rights group, called for an apology.
“His parents weren’t immigrants, his family wasn’t poor, & he has no idea what it’s like to [be] undocumented,” the group’s Antonio Alarcon said in a statement. “Governor Cuomo’s recent pattern of falsehoods and exaggerations about his life story is a sad and disturbing turn of events for New York. It’s disturbing because it serves to diminish and undermine the very real struggles of millions of New Yorkers.”
He slammed the governor for having “no idea what it’s like to live as an undocumented person.”
Statement on Cuomo claims of being son of “poor immigrants,” “undocumented” & “middle class.” Our @antonioalarcon: To immigrant NYers…these fabrications are offensive…His parents weren’t immigrants, his family wasn’t poor, & he has no idea what it’s like to [be] undocumented. pic.twitter.com/1TsGo9bVjq
— Make the Road Action (@MaketheRoadAct) April 18, 2018
“To Dreamer and immigrants like me, these fabrications are offensive,” Alarcon said. “For those of us who came to this country with our parents to find a better life, and have struggled daily to get by and faced the threat of being torn from our family, it’s unbelievable that the governor would try to claim to have shared our experience.”
The two-term governor, who is facing actress and activist Cynthia Nixon as his primary opponent this year, came under heavy fire for his claims. He also set off backlash last year when President Trump attempted to impose a travel ban on those from some Muslim countries.
“As a New Yorker, I am a Muslim. As a New Yorker, I am Jewish. As a New Yorker, I am Black. I am gay. I am disabled. I am a woman seeking to control her health and her choices. Because as a New Yorker we are one community,” he had declared at the time.
As a New Yorker, I am a Muslim. I am a Jew. I am Black. I am gay. I am a woman seeking to control her body. We are one New York. pic.twitter.com/peOL9x2ltl
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) January 29, 2017
Conservative radio host Ben Shapiro had a reality check for Cuomo’s latest remarks.
Actually you’re a rich white dude with a famous dad for a politician and a brother with a morning show on CNN https://t.co/lfqRZw1qRy
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 19, 2018
Dictionary.com even tweeted the definition of the word “undocumented” and added the hashtag #Cuomo.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) April 19, 2018
There was also plenty of condemnation to be found on social media.
He’s got a drivers license, a Social Security number, a Passport, NY pension and used to have a hunting license. He’s about as documented as he can be.
— Jim Rusert (@eastkoy) April 20, 2018
He is an idiot.
But unfortunately that’s not a deportable offence.
— Andre (@NZLAndre) April 20, 2018
— Julie Adamen (@julieadamen) April 19, 2018
When are the left gonna quit conflating legal immigration with illegals?????
— TruthWarrior? (@truthwarrior324) April 19, 2018
I guess “I am a white man of wealth and privilege” just doesn’t raise money like it used to.
— VelvetBarracuda (@VelvetBarracuda) April 19, 2018
“NY Governor Cuomo: I’m an Undocumented Immigrant”
????You just can’t make this stuff up!!!????Undocumented Immigrant!!!????Father was governor 4 3 terms & you were born here!! You just cannot fix stupid!!!https://t.co/ty2W8kXaNT
— QuilterMAGA (@SouthMAGA) April 20, 2018
If this is a real quote than @NYGovCuomo may have said the dumbest thing in the history of politics.
— CKent (@CKentDP) April 13, 2018