President Donald Trump revealed his plans to issue an executive order ending “birthright citizenship” for some non-citizens and illegal immigrants.
Trump discussed the impending major overhaul of an immigration policy which bestows citizenship on any baby born on U.S. soil in an interview with “Axios on HBO” on Monday.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, adding that the U.S. is 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 … with all of those benefits.”
Axios noted that, “More than 30 countries, most in the Western Hemisphere, provide birthright citizenship.”
Trump criticized the policy of birthright citizenship as “ridiculous” and said that “it has to end,” referring to what he sees as an abuse of the immigration system with the interpretation of the 14th Amendment. His planned executive order would target “anchor babies” and “chain migration” and will likely lead to another court battle.
“I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one,” Trump told Axios about the proposed plan. “It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order.”
The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution states that “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.”
A former national security adviser for Trump, Michael Anton, argued in the Washington Post that birthright citizenship is “an absurdity — historically, constitutionally, philosophically and practically.”
He noted that US officials have acted as though “subject to the jurisdiction” just means “subject to American law.”
“The framers of the 14th Amendment added the jurisdiction clause precisely to distinguish between people to whom the United States owes citizenship and those to whom it does not. Freed slaves definitely qualified. The children of immigrants who came here illegally clearly don’t,” Anton wrote.
But Trump-appointed Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge James C. Ho argued it is “unconstitutional” to change how the 14th Amendment was written, noting that the line being debated refers to the legal obligation to follow U.S. laws, Axios reported.