In an interview with “Axios on HBO” released Tuesday, President Trump declared he planned to end birthright citizenship with an executive order (which, to be clear, would involve some moves on the 14th amendment to the constitution that aren’t entirely within his power to make.)
Birthright citizenship, also known as jus soli, is the right to citizenship for anyone born in a country, no matter if their parents are citizens.
Trump declares he can end birthright citizenship with an executive order: “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.” pic.twitter.com/CAK07Kt11D
— Axios (@axios) October 30, 2018
“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,” President Trump told “Axios on HBO.”
According to USA Today, however, there are over 30 countries that have birthright citizenship, including Canada and Mexico.
The basis for birthright citizenship in the U.S. comes from the 14th Amendment, which states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” This Amendment was passed by Congress in 1866, after the Civil War and during the period of Reconstruction, as a way to grant emancipated slaves citizenship. It nullified Dred Scott v. Sanford, an 1857 Supreme Court decision, which had held that those descended from slaves could not be citizens.
Most legal experts agree that President Trump’s plan to ban birthright citizenship using an executive order would be unconstitutional. Traditionally, changing the Constitution requires an agreement by a two-thirds super-majority of Congress and then must be ratified by three-fourths of states, currently 38 out of 50.
Opponents were quick to point this out, also noting the racist nature of this proposal.
— Tasneem N (@TasneemN) October 30, 2018
President Trump has campaigned against the 14th Amendment on the basis that it will help to crack down on illegal immigration. According to the Pew Research Center, around 275,000 babies were born to unauthorized-immigrant parents in 2014, about seven percent of the four million births that year. The news comes soon after the U.S. military announced it was sending 5,200 troops to the border in anticipation of the so-called “caravan of migrants” making their way through Central America.