FALSE: Obama to Change 'Thanksgiving Day' to 'Celebrate Immigrants Day' by Executive Order

President Obama does not plan to issue an executive order changing the name of Thanksgiving to 'Celebrate Immigrants Day.'

Claim:   President Obama plans to issue an executive order changing the name of Thanksgiving to ‘Celebrate Immigrants Day.’


Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2015]

I read an article stating that President Obama was drafting an Executive Order to
rename Thanksgiving to “Immigrants Day”. I’m wondering if you’ve heard
anything about this?

News clip read in western news journal (FB) that thru executive
order Obama would change thanksgiving day to immigrants day.


Origins:   Beginning in February 2015, Susan Payne, a co-host of the Pat McDonough Radio Show on Baltimore station WCBM, appeared as a guest on some other conservative talk radio shows with hosts such as Mark Levin and Joe Miller and stated that she had “inadvertently” received an invitation to take part in a conference call involving a White House task force on immigration policy. Her account of what she overhead during that call was sloppily reported in conservative blogs in a manner that left many readers believing that President Obama was actually planning to issue an executive order changing the name of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday to “Celebrate Immigrants Day”:

A conservative political activist who participated in a conference call with the White House said President Obama should change Thanksgiving Day to a holiday dedicated to illegal immigrants.

Susan Payne of Maryland told radio talk show host Joe Miller on KOAN this would be happening once this “amnesty mill” is complete.

There is no plan afoot for such a change of nomenclature, however, nor is that what Ms. Payne actually asserted. What she said was that during the course of the conference call on immigration that she listened to, an individual (unknown to her) representing one of the many interest groups who took part in the conference call (also unknown to

her) said that “once this is all finished, there should be another executive order that changes Thanksgiving to Celebrate Immigrants Day.” Ms. Payne then stated that whoever made the comment was “thanked for their suggestion” by some nebulous “they” (presumably whoever was in charge of conducting the conference call).

So according to Ms. Payne, all that took place was that an unidentified person representing an unidentified interest group taking part in a White House conference call on immigration made an off-hand suggestion (perhaps jokingly — it’s impossible to tell without having heard the tone and context of the conversation) that President Obama cap his immigration reform efforts by issuing an executive order changing the name of the Thanksgiving holiday to “Celebrate Immigrants Day.” That occurrence is very, very far from the concept, now widely floated on the Internet, that President Obama is actually “drafting an Executive Order to rename Thanksgiving to ‘Immigrants Day.'”

Last updated:   28 September 2015

Since 1994
A Word to Our Loyal Readers

Support Snopes and make a difference for readers everywhere.

  • David Mikkelson
  • Doreen Marchionni
  • David Emery
  • Bond Huberman
  • Jordan Liles
  • Alex Kasprak
  • Dan Evon
  • Dan MacGuill
  • Bethania Palma
  • Liz Donaldson
  • Vinny Green
  • Ryan Miller
  • Chris Reilly
  • Chad Ort
  • Elyssa Young

Most Snopes assignments begin when readers ask us, “Is this true?” Those tips launch our fact-checkers on sprints across a vast range of political, scientific, legal, historical, and visual information. We investigate as thoroughly and quickly as possible and relay what we learn. Then another question arrives, and the race starts again.

We do this work every day at no cost to you, but it is far from free to produce, and we cannot afford to slow down. To ensure Snopes endures — and grows to serve more readers — we need a different kind of tip: We need your financial support.

Support Snopes so we continue to pursue the facts — for you and anyone searching for answers.

Team Snopes