Immigration Ruse Or Power Grab?
Trump To Cancel 14th Amendment
The Plot To End Birthright Citizenship
By Ray Cunneff
October 30, 2018
President Donald Trump believes that he can simply cancel the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by imperial decree, also known as executive order. It's unclear whether this is just a ruse to fire up his political base in the week prior to the midterm elections, or whether Trump actually believes he has the power to override Congressional authority, but such a move would end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil.
In an interview with Axios to be broadcast on HBO, Trump said, "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".
Predictably, Trump is lying. At least 30 countries around the world also have unrestricted birthright citizenship, including Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay.
Most constitutional scholars doubt that the President has the authority to strip citizenship of those born in the US with an executive order, and he did not say when or if he would sign such an order. But there is considerable speculation among immigration hardliners that Trump's conservative-packed Supreme Court, with the addition of "imperial presidency" Justice Brent Kavanaugh, would support Trump's authority to issue executive orders with such broad scope.
Trump announces plan to end
birthright citizenship by executive order
Andrew Harnik/AP photo
President Donald Trump’s push to end birthright citizenship comes amid a larger push in the closing days
of midterm campaign to highlight immigration issues and drive the president's conservative base to the polls.
By CAITLIN OPRYSKO and TED HESSON
President Donald Trump said Monday that he is planning to sign an executive order that would end the practice of bestowing U.S. citizenship onto babies born in the U.S. to non-citizen parents, a move almost certain to draw legal challenges on constitutional grounds.
In an interview with Axios on Monday, Trump said that he had discussed the idea with the White House counsel and that “it’s in the process, it will happen, with an executive order.”
Such an order would seek to override the 14th Amendment, which reads in part: “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.”
Some immigration hardliners have argued that the 14th Amendment is not applicable to those not in the U.S. legally or here only on a temporary visa. Trump, who has long promised to end birthright citizenship, told Axios that instead of amending the Constitution, he has been advised that his administration could end the practice through executive order.
Josh Blackman, a law professor at the South Texas College of Law Houston, said the first question is whether the executive order actually exists or is "just something he’s making up for the midterms.”
“But assuming it’s a real thing, it will be very surprising why his lawyers signed off on it,” Blackman said. “There are a lot of issues where legal scholars widely disagree. Birthright citizenship is not one of these areas.”
The move would be sure to ignite legal challenges as to whether Trump has the power to end birthright citizenship, but Trump indicated that the White House has determined he does.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment,” Trump said. “Guess what? You don't."
"You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."
The issue of whether birthright citizenship could be applied to children born to non-U.S. citizens was the focus of an 1898 Supreme Court ruling. In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the court held that a man born to Chinese-national parents in the U.S. was in fact a U.S. citizen.
Blackman said it‘s broadly accepted that the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States means subject to U.S. laws. However, a small group of legal experts disagree with that view.
John Eastman, a professor at Chapman University and opponent of the longstanding interpretation of the amendment, wrote in a 2015 New York Times op-ed that the phrase “means more than simply being present in the United States.”
Trump’s push to end birthright citizenship comes amid a larger push by the White House in the closing days of midterm campaign season to highlight immigration issues and drive the president's conservative base to the polls.
Trump has railed against caravans of asylum-seeking migrants traveling from Central America, warning on Monday without evidence that there are “Gang Members and some very bad people” mixed in to the group, which he has referred to as an “invasion.”
On Monday, the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security announced that more than 5,000 U.S. troops, along with other military supplies, including helicopters, would be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to brace for the arrival of the caravans, the closest of which is still making its way through southern Mexico.
The administration is mulling other tactics to block the migrants, including threats to cut off aid to countries who don’t impede such caravans, and an executive order and regulatory action that would place restrictions on the migrants’ ability to apply for asylum once they reach the U.S.
"We're the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits," Trump told Axios. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."
Trump's claim that the United States is the only country the world that practices automatic citizenship for those born within a nation's borders is inaccurate — according to Numbers USA, a group that favors reduced immigration rates, at least 30 countries around the globe also have unrestricted birthright citizenship, including Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay.