New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called himself "an undocumented person" because of his Italian-American heritage and dared "anti-immigrant" officials from the "extreme conservative movement" to "deport" him.
Cuomo made his remarks during a speech last week in conjunction with a bill signing to protect working men and women in the state.
"We're going to expose their hypocrisy and how dangerous they are," he said of extreme conservatives at one point in his speech, calling them "anti-immigrant" and adding that "unless you are a Native American, Apache, a Sioux, a Comanche, you are an immigrant. And they are not Native American."
Then the governor put the spotlight on himself.
"You want talk about undocumented and the way they torture the DACA children?" Cuomo said. "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. You know what wop stood for? Without papers. I'm undocumented. You want to deport an undocumented person, start with me, because I'm an undocumented person."
The Online Etymology dictionary, however, indicates that while the derogatory word "wop" refers to Italians, it is "probably not an acronym, and the usual story that it is one seems to date only to c. 1985."
Here's Cuomo's speech. The relevant portion starts just after the 19:40 mark:
'Raised by poor immigrants from South Jamaica'?
The previous day Cuomo said in a speech that he was “raised by poor immigrants from South Jamaica,” which is a neighborhood in Queens, New York.
However, Cuomo's father Mario — who also served as New York governor — was born in Queens to Italian immigrant parents, and his mother Matilda was also born in Queens, Fox News said.
What did an immigrant advocacy group have to say?
Cuomo's remarks didn't sit well with immigrant advocacy group, Make the Road Action.
“To Dreamer and immigrants like me, these fabrications are offensive,” Make the Road Action member Antonio Alarcon said in a statement, Fox News noted, and added that Cuomo “has no idea what it’s like to live as an undocumented person.”
“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,” he stated, Fox News said.
Even Dictionary.com got into the act, tweeting the definition of "undocumented" along with the hashtag #Cuomo:
Undocumented: Lacking documentation or authentication. #Cuomo https://t.co/6HLqoFpqvW https://t.co/Itrd5J0FMC— Dictionary.com (@Dictionary.com) 1524157955.0
Fox News said Cuomo's office didn't respond to a request for comment Thursday afternoon.