Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat, ignited fireworks on social media by stating in a Fourth of July tweet that the Declaration of Independence was signed by “eight immigrants.”
“A reminder this Fourth of July: it was eight immigrants who signed the Declaration of Independence. Happy Independence Day,” said Ms. Harris, whose message was echoed by others.
Critics accused Ms. Harris of politicizing the holiday celebration with a faulty comparison to the current political debate over illegal immigration.
“In case you were wondering, the answer is yes. Democrats will politicize everything,” said the conservative website Twitchy. “Kamala Harris doesn’t so much want to celebrate the Fourth of July as use it to try and score cheap political points.”
The Declaration of Independence had 56 signers, eight of whom were born in Great Britain: Two each born in England, Ireland and Scotland; one born in Northern Ireland, and one born in Wales, according to History.com.
Whether they would have been viewed as foreign “immigrants” is unclear, given that the American colonies were under British rule and native-born colonists were considered British subjects.
None of the 56 signers was born a U.S. citizen because there was no United States of America until July 4, 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress.
Ms. Harris also came under criticism from those who argued that the eight “immigrants” arrived in the colonies legally, whereas the ongoing political debate is focused on illegal immigration.