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President Trump Considers Ending Birthright Citizenship
Oct 31, 2018 at 01:26 PM
Photo by cytis

The Quick Facts

  • In an Axios interview published yesterday, October 30th, President Trump stated that he wants to sign an executive order ending automatic right to citizenship for persons born in the United States.
  • The president told Axios: “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t. It’s in the process. It’ll happen, with an executive order.”
  • The White House has yet to provide more details regarding the president’s statements, such as the scope or timing of the proposed executive order.
  • The concept of birthright citizenship comes from the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”
  • Many constitutional scholars have expressed doubts that the type of executive order described by President Trump would be upheld in courts.
  • Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has subsequently praised the president’s comments and stated he would support legislation similar to the proposed executive order. Graham tweeted yesterday: “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship.”

Food For Thought

Can President Trump end birthright citizenship with an executive order? Should he?

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CNN

Trump's bogus birthright citizenship gambit

Our Commentary

This opinion piece by John Avlon from CNN makes these types of arguments:

  • President Trump’s proposal to abolish birthright citizenship via executive order will never happen. His comments are nothing more than a “desperate midterm election Hail Mary.”
  • This action would be in clear violation of the Constitution. The president’s comments illustrate the hypocrisy of Trump’s Republican base, given that the conservative movement has long hailed itself as “faithful to the vision of the Founding Fathers.”
  • The concept of this executive order is absurd, and it is unacceptable for any Republican lawmaker to support it. “This is play-to-the-base panic, a classic Trump attempt to distract and deflect. Don't fall for it.”

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Los Angeles Times

Trump’s shameful attack on birthright citizenship is probably a political ploy. But what if it's not?

Editorial Board
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Our Commentary

This LA Times editorial includes these kinds of opinions:

  • The president is probably not serious about issuing an executive order ending birthright citizenship, but “frankly, it’s outrageous that Trump would even broach the possibility."
  • Birthright citizenship is a pillar of American democracy, “an important emblem of equality and inclusion.”  Getting rid of it would be antithetical to what makes America great.
  • President Trump is incorrect to state this kind of executive order would be allowed, and he is incorrect to think it would be the right, moral course of action. The president does not seem to fully comprehend the issue, and he “shouldn’t be able to act on that ignorance.”

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National Review

Ending Birthright Citizenship Is No Panacea

Reihan Salam
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Our Commentary

This National Review commentary by Reihan Salam offers these sorts of perspectives:

  • Ending or amending automatic birthright citizenship is not “offensive on its face,” as many democracies around the globe have revised these type of policies, but it is still not the best course of action.
  • Instead of amending birthright citizenship, the United States can make “immigration enforcement much more effective via mandatory E-verify and focusing efforts on recent violators.”
  • It is unlikely that the Trump Administration will actually pursue an executive order ending birthright citizenship, as “the practical realities of implementing such a rule would be enormously complex.” Presumably, these comments are the result of President Trump’s attempts to communicate that he “takes controlling immigration seriously.”

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The Washington Examiner

Birthright citizenship needs fixing

Editorial Board
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Our Commentary

This editorial from The Washington Examiner includes these types of opinions:

  • President Trump is right to challenge birthright citizenship. While attempting to end it may certainly be met with legal challenges, Democrats are “overreaching if they think the public agrees with their absolutist view on the matter.”
  • When it comes to policy, the argument for birthright citizenship is murky: should citizenship be automatically granted to a baby born on U.S. soil to parents just visiting the country? ”Such a law encourages birth tourism and illegal immigration.”
  • Furthermore, when it comes to parents in the United States illegally, “there’s a good argument the Constitution does not provide birthright citizenship.”

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