Much of Donald Trump’s campaign this election season has been rooted in his belief that immigrants cause problems for the U.S. economy. He goes as far as to say, in his official statement on his campaign website:
“The influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high… We need to control the admission of new low-earning workers”
Those following the election then might be surprised to learn that Donald Trump’s own mother fits that bill.
Trump has long told the story of his mother, Mary Anne Macleod, who vacationed in America with her family from her native Scotland and fell in love with a man – Trump’s father. That’s not actually the case though. Records out of Ellis Island indicate that young Macleod didn’t journey to America to vacation, but to work.
Born in Tong, a village on the Isle of Lewis in northern Scotland, Macleod didn’t come from a wealthy family. She saved up $50, closer to $700 in today’s currency, and decided to head to New York. At the time, her older siblings were trying their hand at making a living in New York and Scotland was experiencing high unemployment rates. At just 17 years old in 1930, Macleod set out on a passenger ship from Glasgow to make a better life for herself.
Documents at Ellis Island indicate that Macleod arrived in New York just after turning 18 and that she intended to work as a “domestic,” which in layman’s terms is a maid, and that she intended to gain U.S. citizenship. She had never been to the States before and stayed with one of her sisters in Astoria while she worked.
Though she did return to Scotland four years later, she didn’t stay long, returning to the U.S. and marrying Fred Trump by 1936. The story of Mary Anne Macleod Trump is the real rags-to-riches story so many Americans hope for. She went from living in a poor village to being the wife to a wealthy real estate developer who was able to give back to the community around her through work with the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts of America.
Mary Anne’s story is what immigrants hope for when they arrive in America – a new life that allows them to prosper – not the picture of job stealers and oppression Trump has painted throughout his campaign.