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Tipsheet

Immigration Documents Contradict Rep. Santos’ Claim His Mother Was in NYC on 9/11

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Immigration documents obtained by The Washington Post reportedly show that Republican Rep. George Santos’ mother was not in New York during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Previously, Santos claimed she was inside the South Tower and survived the attacks.

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Santos’ campaign website, which is still active, says the following: 

George’s mother was in her office in the South Tower on September 11, 2001, when the horrific events of that day unfolded. She survived the tragic events on September 11th, but she passed away a few years later when she lost her battle to cancer.

According to the records obtained by The Washington Post and The Forward, Santos’ mother, Fatima Devolder, applied for a visa to enter the United States from Brazil in February 2003. On her application, Devolder reportedly stated that she’d not been in the United States since 1999. Previous reports also showed that Devolder died in 2016, 15 years after the tragic 9/11 attacks. In a previous tweet, Santos reportedly said, “9/11 claimed my mother’s life,” the Post noted.

According to The Forward, Devolder lived in Rio de Janeiro on Sept. 11, 2001:

Devolder came to the United States in 1985 at the age of 21, they show. Two decades later, she wrote on a form that she spoke “little English.”

The records show that she wasn’t a bean counter, but a bean picker. As a young woman with a ninth grade education, she came to the United States on a Seasonal Agricultural Workers visa and worked on a South Florida bean and squash farm for $2.50 an hour. Later, she moved to New York and worked as a home aide and housekeeper.

The documents were released to a researcher named Alex Calzareth who requested them under the Freedom of Information Act, and shared with the Forward. They also place Devolder in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Niterói on Sept. 11, 2001.

Three months before the attacks, Devolder filed a request with the U.S. Consulate in Rio for a replacement green card, saying hers had been stolen after she returned to Brazil in June 1999. The situation was apparently not resolved, and another application was filed in early 2003. At that point, she stated that she had not been in the United States since 1999.

The 2003 application, filled out by hand by Devolder, lists her father, Paulo Devolder Horta, as having been born in Rio in 1918, and her mother, Rosalina Horta Devolder, as having been  born in Rio in 1927. This echoes genealogical records unearthed by the Forward in December, and directly contradicts what Santos himself continues to claim — that his grandparents fled the Nazis for Brazil in 1940.

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After winning his congressional seat, The New York Times published an article exposing discrepancies in Santos’ resume. Shortly after, in an interview with the New York Post, Santos admitted that he “embellished” portions of his work and education history. He added that the controversy “will not deter me from having good legislative success” and that he would be “effective” and “good” as a member of Congress.

“My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry,” he said in the interview, which Townhall covered.

Santos misrepresented several claims on the campaign trail, including where he worked, where he attended college, and his heritage and religious beliefs. Late last month, prosecutors on Long Island announced they were investigating Santos. 

In addition, reports broke that Santos, under the name of “Anthony Devolder,” helped set up a GoFundMe for a veteran with PTSD whose dog needed an operation to remove a life-threatening tumor. The disabled veteran spoke with the Patch and claimed that in 2016, “Devolder” helped him raise funds for his dog’s surgery. The fundraiser was reportedly set up and successful. But, after the monetary goal was met, the charity was closed, and the money “disappeared,” which Rebecca covered.

Despite calls from politicians on both sides of the aisle to resign, Santos was assigned to congressional committees and has said he will not resign.

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