Immigration is a hot topic right now. Mike Braun, Luke Messer and Todd Rokita, the three Republican senatorial candidates in Tuesday’s primary, are each running on a platform that supports President Donald Trump’s agenda to limit both legal and illegal immigration to this country.
Since this nation has a rich immigrant tradition, let’s take a look at the family genealogies of the three candidates to learn more about their immigrant pasts from Ancestry.com and other online public record sources.
Braun has aired campaign ads promising to get tough on immigration, including ending “chain migration,” which is currently the legal method for naturalized citizens to sponsor and bring close family members to this country. Braun’s family tree goes to back to Germany in the 1800s, but unfortunately, due to the common name, it was impossible to research his Braun ancestors with certainty using only Ancestry.com.
Mike’s wife Maureen’s great-grandfather, William Burger, came to Dubois County, Indiana, from Germany in 1854. William’s purported uncle, George Burger, came to this country prior to William, around 1851 (per an online family tree). This would be a classic example of what modern-day pundits call chain migration.
Immigrants from the earliest colonial days to the present have practiced family-based immigration because it makes sense – if your family members move to another country, you probably will want to join them, especially if there are better opportunities to be had there.
If a ban on chain migration had been in effect in the 1850s, Maureen (Burger) Braun’s ancestors may not have been admitted to this country, meaning she never would have had the opportunity to meet and marry Mike.
Messer co-sponsored House Resolution 4760, the Securing America’s Future Act, which, among other things, promises to end legal chain migration. Luke’s second great-grandfather, Emil Rotzien, was born in 1854 in Germany and came to LaPorte County, Indiana, as a child with his parents in 1856. In 1862, a probable uncle named John Rotzien came to this country, while another relative named Michael Rotzien came in 1868. Both settled in the same small LaPorte County community as Luke’s ancestor Emil. Had chain migration been against the law, Luke Messer’s own extended family may not have been allowed to come to this country.
By Sara Allen for THE JOURNAL GAZETTE
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