Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., is seen at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, January 12, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., claimed his mother was in her office at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but records obtained by NBC News on Wednesday show she was living in Brazil at the time.
Immigration records, discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request by genealogy researcher Alex Calzareth and first reported The Washington Postshow that Santos’ mother, Fatima Caruso Devolder, was admitted to the US in April 2003 and had not been in the country since 1999. She lived in Rio de Janeiro.
Devolder last left New York in 1999, and in 2001, when she was back in Brazil, she claimed her green card was stolen, according to records. She later applied for re-entry and was readmitted to the U.S. in 2003, records show. Devolder said she was unemployed or retired and that she planned to live in Woodside, New York, a neighborhood in Queens, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information request.
But even though records show Devolder’s absence from the U.S. from 1999 to 2003, Santos’ congressional campaign page says, “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 of September 11, but died a few years later after losing her battle with cancer.”
Santos’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
In 2021, while running for Congress, Santos claimed in a Twitter account response that 9/11 claimed the life of his mother. His campaign website states that his mother died several years after the attacks; she died in 2016.
Calzareth, who is originally from Nassau County but not from Santos’ congressional district, filed FOIA requests about Santos’ mother in late December. He said he originally filed the request because he was interested in finding out if Devolder was in the U.S. in 1988, when Santos was born. Government records show she was in the country from the mid-1980s to 1999.
Santos lied about much of his background and resume and is the subject of state, local and federal investigations. In an interview last month with New York Postapologized for aspects of his biography.
“I’m embarrassed and I apologize for embellishing my resume,” he said, according to the paper. “I admit it. … We do stupid things in life.”
The Hill reported this last week Santos told reporters“I didn’t do anything unethical.
A growing number of GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill are calling on him to resign. But House Republicans gave him seats on two committees after pressure mounted to prevent him from sitting on congressional panels.