Politicians Throughout History That Happened To Be Immigrants

David Hartley Armstrong

Armstrong served as a United States Senator from 1877 to 1879. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, he spent a good deal of his pre-Senate career teaching in New Bedford, Massachusetts and Missouri. 

He would serve as a key member of the board of freeholders who drafted the charter of St. Louis in 1876.

David Baird

Baird was a Senator from New Jersey who immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1856. He spent many years in the lumber business before moving to Camden, New Jersey where he engaged in the world of banking.

He first attempted to run for a Republican Senate seat in 1910, but failed to secure a seat. He was successful in 1918, when he replaced William Hughes after his death.

Mel Martinez

Born in Cuba, Martinez immigrated to the United States in 1962 and live with foster families before reuniting with his family in Orlando. 

He practiced law for 25 years before serving as the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urband Development. Martinez served as a Repyblican on the Senate from 2005 until he resigned in 2009.

Thomas Kearns

A Senator from Utah, Kearns was born in Ontario, Canada before moving to Salt Lake city in 1862. He operated several mines before serving on the City Council of Park City in 1895. 

He filled the Utah Senate seat from 1901-1905 due to the legislature’s failure to elect. After his time in office, he lived out his days running his mines.

Don Bayer

Born in Italy, Bayer is a Democratic U.S. Representative for the state of Virginia. He assumed office in January 2015, but has maintained a career in politics long before that.  

He served as Virginia’s governor from 1990-1998 and was the United States Ambassador to Switzerland from 2009-2013. Bayer is very active in community politics and has served on the board of Youth of tomorrow and Jobs for America’s Graduates.

Elaine Chao

Serving as Secretary of Transportation under the Trump administration, Elaine Chao was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the United States when she was eight years old.

She is the first Asian American to hold a position in the United States presidential cabinet and worked as the Secretary of Labor under Bush and as a director for the Peace Corps.

Edward Baker

Edward Baker was born in England and lived his life as a politician, lawyer and military leader. He served as a United States Senator for the state of Oregon from 1860 to 1861 and previously had been a U.S. Representative in Congress from 1849-1851. 

Sadly, Baker died during the Battle of Fort Sumter during the Civil War.

John Moses

John Moses was a Democratic Senator for the state of North Dakota, but sadly one served for three months in 1945 due to his sudden death. 

Born in Rogaland County, Norway in 1885, he immigrated to the United States in 1905. He worked on the railway for five years, before going to college and finally beginning a political career in 1919.

Chris Van Hollen

Chris Van Hollen was born in Karachi, Pakistan to American parents and lived in places like Sri Lanka and Turkey before moving to the United States in 1982. 

He served in the U.S. House of Representatives for Maryland’s 8th District from 2003 to 2017 before moving to the Senate where he assumed office in January 2017. Hollen is a strong advocate for gun reformation and also heads up campaigns for animal rights.

Robert Wagner

Wagner was born in Prussia and migrated to New York with his family in 1885. He graduated from New York Law School and went on to be the Democratic leader of the state senate. 

He would assume office as a United States Senator for New York in 1927 and serve until 1949. He is best known for sponsoring the National Relations Act of 1935.

Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth is an American politician and retired Iraq War vet who was the first Asian American elected to Congress in Illinois. A straight-to-the-point Democrat, Tammy was born in Thailand before moving to the United States in 1985. 

She assumed the role of Senator on January 3, 2017, winning her Senate seat in the 2016 election.

Kate Brown

Brown is the 38th Governor of Oregon and was born in Madrid, Spain. She was raised in Minnesota after her father finished serving in the Air Force and would go on to study environmental law before entering the world of politics. 

She was a member of the Oregon House of Representatives and a member of the Oregon Senate before assuming the role of governor in 2015.

Ted Cruz

You may not have known this, but former presidential candidate, Ted Cruz was born in Canada before immigrating to the United States. A Republican Senator for the state of Texas, Cruz was the last man standing against Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. 

He is considered a radical candidate due to his extreme far-right Christian values and his father’s radical evangelicalism.

Jorge Labarga

Labarga was born in Havana, Cuba in 1952 and is the first Cuban-American to be Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. After migrating to Cuba, Labarga grew up in Pahokee, Florida and went on to have a very successful judicial career. 

He is known for his notable refusal of a new vote during the 2000 presidential election.

Seamus McCaffery

McCaffery was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1950 and moved to the United States with his family when he was 12 years-old.

He’s had a very long and successful career in politics, working as an administrative judge in Philadelphia before going on to be a Justice of the Superior and then Supreme Court. He resigned in 2014.

Melania Trump

Melania Trump was born in Slovenia and is the first naturalized U.S. citizen to become First Lady of the United States. Prior to entering the world of politics, Trump had a successful modeling career. 

She then went on to marry Donald Trump before assuming her role in the White House. Melania has made it her mission to combat cyber-bullying.

Patty Lopez

Patty Lopez was born in Mexico and moved to the United States at the age of twelve. She spoke no English when she first arrived, but would go on to teach herself to speak, read and write. 

She was elected to the California State Assembly in 2014 and served until 2016.

Steven Derounian

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Derounian migrated to New York with his family as a young boy. There he attended public schools before studying law at Fordham University. 

Enlisting in the United States Army, he was awarded the Purple Heart after he served his time. In politics, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New York’s 3rd District from 1963-1965.

Pehr G. Holmes

A Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1931-1947 for the state of Massachusetts, Holmes was born in Sweden. 

His family moved to the United States when he was four years old and he worked in manufacturing before engaging in banking. This would eventually lead him into politics where her served as Mayor of Worcester before heading to Congress.

David Wu

Wu was the first Taiwanese American to serve in the House of Representatives. A Democrat for Oregon’s 1st District, he has been a strong proponent for student exchange programs. 

After his time in Congress, Wu spent his time traveling the U.S. and encouraging Asian Americans to take part in the political process.