Trump Wavers on Ending Birthright Citizenship With Executive Order


Trump, in an interview with Axios this week, promised to end, by executive order, birthright citizenship for "anchor babies" (children born in the United States to non-U.S. parents).

"You know, as a conservative, I'm a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process", the top Republican in the House told Kentucky's WVLK-AM radio. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was passed to cement rules put into place by recent civil rights laws, including birthright citizenship. "We - House Republicans and this President - are in total agreement on the need to stop illegal immigration, to secure our border and fix our laws".

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Hao Junbo, a Beijing-based lawyer experienced in cross-border litigation and U.S. law, said that even if Trump issued the executive order, it could be rejected for violating the United States constitution.

Any move by Mr Trump is sure to be challenged in the courts, resulting in chaos similar to that witnessed when the president sought to ban citizens from some Muslim-majority countries through executive orders, though it can also result in the judges finally clarifying whether the 14th amendment should apply to immigrants.

He added that "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". "He's getting the executive branch under control and saying, 'This is what the 14th Amendment means, '" Levin said.

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This clip is from 2014, when the former president sat down for a one-on-one interview with ABC News. "It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof'".

The term refers to the automatic right to citizenship for children born in the U.S., even to non-citizens.

Not so, according to a 2010 study from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that supports immigration restrictions, which said at least 30 countries offer birthright citizenship. 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.

When asked after the debate about ending birthright citizenship, Yoder told reporters that if the US secured its borders adequately, "That's not an issue then". However, White House lawyers expect to work with the Justice Department to develop a legal justification for the action.

At Levin's request, Horowitz explained how an executive order issued by Trump ending birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants would not be lawless because the order would be pursuant to law.

The country is facing a massive backlog of immigration cases - some 700,000 - and there are more and more families coming across the border from Central America - groups who can not be simply returned over the border. According to a Pew survey, the number of children born to unauthorised immigrants in the USA rose dramatically from 30,000 in 1980 to 370,000 in 2006, though it has been declining since then. But experts question the legality and practicality of what would amount to indefinite detention.