On Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker bizarrely and inaccurately claimed that Alexander Hamilton came to the United States illegally and drafted the Constitution: "Let's remember...a lot of Americans did come through the back door such as Alexander Hamilton. He got off the boat from the West Indies, and all he did was write the Constitution and become the first Secretary of the Treasury."
Parker raised this false history during a discussion at the end of the 8 pm Eastern hour about Pedro Ramirez, Fresno State University's student body president, who was outed as an illegal immigrant by a student newspaper. After playing clips from Ramirez and his opponent during the student election, who is also the president of the Fresno State College Republicans, the CNN host displayed sympathy for the college student: "This is kind of a classic though, isn't it, really? I mean, you've the college Republican versus the illegal immigrant, and it's kind of a classic clash, you know, that corresponds to this immigration debate we're having in this country. And clearly, when you put a human face on the illegal immigrant, it's a different story. I mean, nobody wants to punish this young 22-year-old."
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Eliot Spitzer, Parker's co-host, interjected that "It's more than just complicated. Whether the number is 11 or 12 million undocumented individuals here in this nation which is- you know, the term that I think is preferred these days, so many of them, like this kid, were here because their parents came in with them."
The pseudo-conservative replied with her claim about the Founding Father, and also named a more recent celebrity/politician as an illegal immigrant:
PARKER: But, you know, Eliot, let's remember, too- a lot of Americans did come through the back door-
PARKER: Such as Alexander Hamilton.
PARKER: He got off the boat from the West Indies, and all he did was write the Constitution and become the first Secretary of the Treasury- and, of course, what about the 'Terminator'?
SPITZER: That's right. We've got to have Arnold, who is in his last days as the great governor of California- has a little bit of a deficit that he's leaving for his successor, the 'moonbeam,' Jerry Brown. So you got Arnold, you got Alexander Hamilton- can you imagine the two of them having dinner together?
Actually, Hamilton came to New York City from the British West Indies in 1774 to study at King College, which was renamed Columbia University after the American War for Independence. Of course, New York was still a British colony at this point, so the young Hamilton didn't "come through the back door."
More importantly, Hamilton didn't write the Constitution- that credit generally goes to James Madison. Hamilton did, however, participate in the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and wrote 51 out of 85 of the Federalist Papers, which aided the ratification of the Constitution. Perhaps Ms. Parker needs to take a refresher course in American history.
As for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank del Olmo, then associate editor of the Los Angeles Times, claimed in a September 28, 2003 commentary that the action movie star "may once have been an illegal alien," and cited an investigation by the San Jose Mercury News which found that Schwarzenegger "may have violated U.S. immigration laws on at least two occasions." But neither del Olmo nor the San Jose Mercury News provided anything substantive.