Newly uncovered immigration records for Rep. George Santos’ mother appear to contradict the embattled freshman Republican’s repeated claim that she was present at the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The records indicate that Fatima Devolder said she was in Brazil between 1999 and early 2003, and therefore not in New York City when the attacks took place. CNN obtained the records, first reported on by The Forward, from genealogy researcher Alex Calzareth, who received them from a Freedom of Information Act request.
While in Brazil in 2003, Devolder indicated on a form that she had not been to the US since she left in 1999. Devolder also filed paperwork in Brazil in 2001, just months before the September 11 attacks, saying her green card had been stolen.
Representatives for Santos did not return CNN’s requests for comment.
Santos has repeatedly claimed that his mother was at the World Trade Center on September 11 and said the incident played a role in her death from cancer.
In a December 17, 2021, radio interview on “The Voice of Reason with Andy Hooser,” Santos said that his mother got “caught up in the ash cloud” on 9/11 and that she did not sign up to get financial relief because she didn’t want to take money away from first responders.
“She was in the south tower, and she made it out. She got caught up in the ash cloud. My mom fought cancer till her death,” Santos said.
Santos has previously claimed his mother was a financial executive, although that description has since been removed from his website. The records obtained by CNN show she listed her jobs as a housekeeper or home aide.
Devolder also listed both of her parents – Santos’ grandparents – as being born in Brazil, again undercutting his claim that his maternal grandparents fled the Holocaust.
He is already facing a federal probe led by prosecutors in New York who are investigating his finances. And in a separate matter, CNN reported that law enforcement officials in Brazil will reinstate fraud charges against Santos. Prosecutors said they will seek a “formal response” from Santos related to a stolen checkbook in 2008, after police suspended an investigation into him because they were unable to find him for nearly a decade.
In an interview last month with the New York Post, Santos denied being charged with any crime in Brazil, saying “I am not a criminal here – not here or in Brazil or any jurisdiction in the world. Absolutely not. That didn’t happen.”
Santos admitted to stealing a man’s checkbook that was in his mother’s possession to purchase clothing and shoes in 2008, according to documents obtained by CNN.
CNN’s Manu Raju, Melanie Zanona and Clare Foran contributed to this report.