President Donald Trump could sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship for children born in the US to noncitizen parents. The president called the program “ridiculous.” Trump also noted that he had been made to believe that ending birthright citizenship would require a constitutional amendment but it turns out that this is not needed. Trump appeared to suggest that an act of Congress should get this done but even that won’t be necessary since an executive order will be enough.
The 14th Amendment of the US Constitution was ratified by the US Congress in 1868. It was part of the civil rights amendment after the US Civil War. Its wording is very explicit. It reads “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside.” Trump was quick to make it clear that his order will only affect parents who enter the US illegally to give birth. His arguments and that of his lawyers appear to be simple. The 14th Amendment should apply to legal citizens of the US only. This excludes illegal immigrants and those on a temporary visa.
Trump expressed his dismay to the policy claiming that the US is the only country in the world where a person can just come in, have a child, and the baby essentially becomes a citizen. He called the program ridiculous adding that it has to end by all means. However, there are other countries that grant citizenship for children born within their borders even if the parents are not citizens. The president insisted that the process to end the citizenship program is in the works and it’s going to be done through a presidential executive order.
The Trump administration’s hardline stand on immigration has been a major pull factor for far-right supporters of the president who form a big portion of his political base. The announcement comes as US troops head towards the border to assist already heavily armed border patrol agents in stopping a migrant caravan from Central America that’s headed towards the US. The people in the caravan have maintained that their intention is to seek asylum in the US, something that’s permitted under US and International law.
But the president has repeatedly called the caravan an “invasion of the country” stoking fears among his supporters. The timing of the planned executive order is also interesting. It comes barely days before the November 6th midterms that could define his presidency. Analysts are putting Democrats on pole position to retake the house in November. Trump has been on the road rallying the Republican base to turn up and vote red. If the executive order is signed, it will definitely be challenged in court or even in the Supreme Court. This would be a huge test for judges like Brett Kavanaugh who have billed themselves as nonpartisan constitutionalists. But we are not there yet so we have to wait and see.