In the run-up to the midterm elections, immigration has taken center stage. Now President Donald Trump has opened a new chapter in the ongoing debate. In a new interview, Trump claims he can end birthright citizenship. The move, he claims can be enacted through an executive order, would radically redefine immigration politics.
Trump made his claim in an interview with Axios (video below), Tuesday. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said. “You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now [his legal counsel is] saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
Section one of The 14th Amendment, which has stood for 150 years, reads:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Removing this provision, in the opinion of many legal scholars, would require an act of Congress. President Trump, though, says he can end the provision through an executive order.
I love how the left says the 2nd Amendment only applies to the firearms of the 1700s but says the 14th Amendment has to apply to all people who exist ever
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) October 30, 2018
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump said.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he continued.
Even some of President Trump’s supporters feel like his statement may be more complicated than The President is making out.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday broke with Donald Trump and contested his claims that he could circumvent the 14th Amendment https://t.co/gGFGHXuclg
— POLITICO (@politico) October 30, 2018
“Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters. Ryan went on the describe the process as “very, very lengthy.”
If Trump were to attempt such ban, the decision would face immediate legal challenges. “The step would immediately be challenged in court,” CNN notes. “Some of Trump’s previous immigration executive orders, including an attempt to bar entry to citizens from some Muslim-majority countries, came under legal scrutiny after a chaotic drafting process. At the same time, the President has derided his predecessor Barack Obama for taking executive actions to block some young undocumented immigrants from deportation, a step Trump said was a presidential overstep.”
Here is what Senator Jacob Howard, author of the 14th Amendment, said about birthright citizenship in 1866.
It seems that Trump can absolutely end birthright citizenship for anchor babies with an EO.
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 30, 2018
“The President cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project said. “This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms.”
“We all cherish the language of the 14th Amendment, but the Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” Pence said. pic.twitter.com/r2r65vQeT7
— POLITICO (@politico) October 30, 2018
“This is simply an attempt for Donald Trump, who wants to do anything possible to bring back fears around immigration, to use that as a political tool in this last week before the election,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, told CNN. “This is again, where a President’s words matter. The Constitution is quite clear that no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law.”