President Trump to try and end birthright citizenship in U.S.

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President Donald Trump plans to end birthright citizenship through an Executive Order.

President Donald Trump plans to end birthright citizenship through an Executive Order.

This means babies of non-citizens born in the United States would no longer be granted citizenship.

Right now, the 14th Amendment gives citizenship to anyone born or naturalized in the U.S.

Trump confirmed his plan during an interview with Axios on HBO, a new four-part documentary series that airs Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

In the interview Trump incorrectly says that the United States is the only country in the world that automatically makes children born in the country citizens of the country. He goes on to say that policy must end.


The United States is one of 30 countries with birthright citizenship, the overwhelming majority of which are located in the Western Hemisphere.

Trump says in the interview that he would not need to amend the constitution. He says he's spoken to counsel and he believes he can end birthright citizenship through an Executive Order.

Trump did not say when he planned to follow through with this plan, but he did say "it's in the process. It'll happen."

In the final days before the Nov. 6 midterms, Trump has emphasized immigration, as he seeks to counter Democratic enthusiasm. Trump believes that his campaign pledges, including his much vaunted and still-unfulfilled promise to quickly build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, are still rallying cries for his base and that this latest focus will further erode the enthusiasm gap.

The 14th Amendment

Section 1, known as the Citizenship Clause, of the 14th Amendment guarantees that right for all children born in the U.S.

The 14th Amendment was passed by Congress in 1866 after the Civil War and during the period of Reconstruction. The amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868 by three-fourths of the states. By extending citizenship to those born in the U.S., the amendment nullified an 1857 Supreme Court decision (Dred Scott v. Sandford), which had held that those descended from slaves could not be citizens.

"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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

"The Supreme Court has never addressed the question of whether a person who is here unlawfully and has a child whether that child is a citizen of the United States. That would have to be decided by the Supreme Court," explained Campbell University Law School Professor Greg Wallace.

Wallace said certain scholars argue language within the 14th Amendment is open for interpretation, specifically "subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

"There's some who argue that that means that you're subject to the jurisdiction, you're here lawfully. And you're not subject to the jurisdiction of another country, such as being a citizen of another country," said Wallace.

Any challenge to the 14th Amendment would go through the courts.

"No Executive Order or even statute passed by Congress can overturn a Constitutional Amendment. The Constitution trumps both Executive Orders and legislation if they're contrary to the Constitution. Now, of course, that's the big question - would an Executive Order that would be contrary to the Constitution," said Wallace.

There's also a debate of whether this is an actual policy plan or pure politicking in the lead-up to next week's Midterm Elections.

"The president has clearly tried to make immigration a big issue in the closing weeks before the midterm elections, so I think this fits with a larger pattern," said Dr. Steven Greene, a North Carolina State Political Science Professor.

Regardless of the intent, it's likely a question candidates will face over the next week.

"It's not a toss-up, but it's a close one right here in North Carolina is 2nd District between George Holding and Linda Coleman. And I don't think this is the debate that George Holding wants to be having," Greene said, adding he believed the comments were made to excite Republican voters ahead of the election.

Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Paul Ryan responded to the President's comments.

"Well you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order," Ryan said during an interview with WVLK Radio in Kentucky.

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R - S.C.) voiced his support for the President's idea, writing in a series of tweets that he would introduce legislation aimed at ending birthright citizenship.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Related Topics:
politicsPresident Donald Trumpdonald trumpimmigrationexecutive orderWashington D.C.
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