Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Presidential/VP Candidates with Immigrant Parents*

Elected Officials

Barack Obama (President, 2009-present)
- Father was born in Kenya.

Spiro Agnew (Vice-President, 1969-1973)
- Father was a Greek immigrant.

Hubert Humphrey (Vice-President, 1965-1969)
- Mother was a Norwegian immigrant.

Charles Curtis (Vice-President, 1929-1933)
- Mother was a Native American.

Chester A. Arthur (President, 1881-1885)
- Father was an Irish immigrant.

Party Nominees

John Kerry (Democratic Presidential nominee, 2004)
- Mother was born in France.

Ralph Nader (Green Presidential nominee, 2000)
- Both parents were Lebanese immigrants.

Michael Dukakis (Democratic Presidential nominee, 1988)
- Both parents were Greek immigrants.

Geraldine Ferraro (Democratic VP nominee, 1984)
- Father was an Italian immigrant.

John B. Anderson (Independent Presidential nominee, 1980)
- Father was a Swedish immigrant.

George McGovern (Democratic Presidential nominee, 1972)
- Mother was a Canadian immigrant.

Edmund Muskie (Democratic VP nominee, 1968)
- Father was a Polish immigrant.

Primary Contenders

Mike Gravel (Democratic and Libertarian contender, 2008)
- Both parents were French-Canadian immigrants.

Dennis Kucinich (Democratic contender, 2008)
- One or both parents were possibly born in Slovenia.

Bill Richardson (Democratic contender, 2008)
- Mother was born in Mexico.

Andy Martin (Republican contender, 2000)
- Father became a U.S. citizen when he was 5.

Arlen Specter (Republican contender, 1996)
- Father was a Russian immigrant.

Popular Rumored Candidates

Mario Cuomo
- Both parents were Italian immigrants.

Bobby Jindal
- Both parents were Indian immigrants.

Colin Powell
- Both parents were Jamaican immigrants.


I would like to note that this list is, in no way, comprehensive. You can see for yourself that 'Party Nominees' only extends back to 1968, and 'Primary Contenders' only to 1996. And yet this list still has 20 names on it. Only one of whom was ever alleged to be ineligible because of his foreign parentage.

*You may notice that many persons on this list only have one immigrant parent each. That is because "Candidates with Immigrant Parents," despite being plural, does not imply that each candidate in question had two immigrant parents. Such an interpretation would be grammatically foolish.


  1. George Romney (1968 I believe) was born in Mexico. He was in the Rebuplican primaries. I would wonder which wife George was born from: the one recognized by the US, or one of the junior wives (he father was a polygamist).

    That would be Mitt's dad.

  2. I misspoke. George's Grandfather was a polygamist, not his father.

  3. I originally had Mitt Romney on the list, but chose to leave him off for the specific reason that George Romney himself ran for President. So I think including Romney dulls my point a little.

  4. Just a few more candinates that I've for you that I've found.

    1. John C. Frémont (R-1856) - Father was born in France. Was born out of wedlock to a French Father, and an American Mother.

    2. Wendell Willkie (R-1940) - Born to a German Immigrant Father. Father naturalized in 1870, about 20 years before the birth of Willkie