President Trump has disclosed his plans to revoke birthright citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil through an executive order—the latest in a string of moves to crack down on both lawful and unlawful immigration to the United States.
Children born in the United States, including those whose parents are foreign nationals, become U.S. citizens by default as provided by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which 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.”
President Trump, however, wants to rescind the 14th amendment through an executive order, a move that could trigger a constitutional crisis. In an interview with Axios, he argued that “It is ridiculous [how] 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.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also announced he would be introducing legislation to propel President Trump’s executive agenda at the legislative level but did not specify whether that legislative action involves calling for a constitutional amendment. Graham, however, told Fox News that he may propose a constitutional amendment to change the rules for immigrants who have children in the country, adding that he believes birthright citizenship is a mistake.
“We should change our Constitution and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child’s automatically not a citizen,” he said.
The process of amending the constitution is long and arduous. First, the administration would need the approval of at least two-thirds in every body of Congress to pass a bill proposing an amendment. Another method, which has never been used before, involves calling for a constitutional convention by a vote of two-thirds of state legislatures.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) expressed doubts over the constitutionality of ending birthright citizenship through an executive order.
“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” he explained. “We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution.”
The concern over birthright citizenship, a central issue to the Trump administration, comes hot on the heels of next week’s midterm election. In fact, some observers believe the announcement is merely a move to put immigration issues on the minds of voters as the head to the polls on November 6. In any case, what’s clear is that this latest announcement by the president is just one of many attempts to make good on promises made during the campaign trail, which include banning immigrants from the Middle East and erecting a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
For more immigration news and updates, be sure to follow this blog. If you, or a loved one, are concerned about this latest development and want to know your rights, schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Call our offices today at (512) 215-5225 to learn more about how Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle can help you.