George Santos, right, talks to a voter while campaigning outside...

George Santos, right, talks to a voter while campaigning outside a Stop & Shop in Glen Cove in November 2022. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

Even after electing a slippery young fraud to the U.S. Congress, most voters in Long Island’s 3rd Congressional District would presume George Devolder Santos has been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years, as the Constitution requires.

It’s hard to believe his fabulism would reach so far as to fake an immigration status. But in this wild case, who knows any more? Since so much of Santos' life story as presented has unraveled in recent weeks, we the people can no longer presume anything about him that isn’t fully documented.

His campaign bio, still posted online, states: “George Santos is the son of immigrants, who grew up in a basement apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. Both his mother and father legally immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream, where they began their family on the foundations of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

But Santos told a co-worker at a call center in Queens years ago that he was born to a wealthy family in Brazil, according to the Port Washington Patch. All we know for sure is that he spent time in Brazil as a young adult, which is when local police arrested him for theft but later seemed to lose track of him.

Long identifying himself as gay, Santos was married to a woman — whom he reportedly divorced in Queens only three years ago. One puzzle worth solving for those still delving into his past is whether the woman, identified in published court documents as Uadla Santos Vieira Santos, reaped or hoped to reap some immigration benefit by marrying him — or if, by some bizarre circumstance, it was the other way around.

The point, again, is that we will not know for sure until officials with power to investigate disclose relevant facts. Innocence is properly still presumed before guilt. Federal officials are cautious with individuals’ immigration records, New York City doesn’t make birth records generally available, and Social Security numbers are supposed to be kept private.

The irony of justifiably demanding an elected Republican release his birth certificate is not lost here. Donald Trump, whose MAGA movement commands showy loyalty from Santos, sowed reckless doubts for years about the citizenship of U.S.-born Democratic President Barack Obama. For that matter, “birthers” also called Obama a Muslim when he was provably Christian. Now the nation's capitol has Santos, who claimed to be Catholic or Jewish as the occasion arose.

It’s amazing that a basic citizenship question would have to be asked about any elected official without a strange “theory” driving it. But reality demands it. Quite rationally, David North of the Center for Immigration Studies, which touts the slogan “low immigration, pro-immigrant,” said in a recent posting that Santos “could solve this matter by simply producing a birth certificate, which I have not seen reported.”

Also, if the birth document doesn’t show he was born here, Santos can prove his subsequent naturalization.

He's already exhausted the benefit of the doubt on most other fronts. 

Maybe Santos — who never had any business holding any public job — will see the light and put forward a genuine fact or two about himself just this once, rather than default to fake claims of persecution. 

Columnist Dan Janison's opinions are his own.