During an exclusive interview with “Axios on HBO” a new four-part documentary news series that makes its HBO debut on Sunday @ 6:30 p.m. eastern time, President Trump stated his intent to end birthright citizenship “for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil.”
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
Interviewer: On Immigration, some legal scholars believe you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution…
Trump: With an Executive Order…
Interviewer: Exactly. Have you thought about that?
Trump: Yes. It was always told me that you need a constitutional amendment. Guess what? you don’t. Number one, you don’t need that…
Interviewer: I mean that’s in dispute, that’s very much in dispute.
Trump: Well, you can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order. Now how ridiculous, we are 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 eighty-five years with all of those benefits, it’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous and it has to end.
Interviewer: Have you talked about that with counsel?
Trump: Yeah. I have.
Interviewer: So where in the process…
Trump: It’s in the process. It will happen. With an Executive Order. That’s what you’re talking about right? That’s a very interesting question, I didn’t think anyone knew that, but me. I thought I was the only one.
Axios explains that they have been working “for weeks on a story on Trump’s plans for birthright citizenship, based on conversations with several sources, including one close to the White House Counsel’s office.”
Axios also points out that any change through Executive Order, to the Fourteenth amendment of the Constitution, that states, “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,” would face a magnitude of legal challenges.
As the Washington Post notes, and as the News Blender covered in July, the most cited Supreme Court ruling in the area of legal versus non-legal immigrates court cases is “1898 case United States v. Wong Kim Ark.” The court at that time “held that a child born to Chinese immigrants who were legal residents was a birthright U.S. citizen under the 14th Amendment.”
Both Axios and the Washington Post also point out that the United States is not the only country that grants birthright citizenship. In fact thirty-three other nations “grant citizenship to anyone born within their borders,” this includes countries such as Canada, Mexico, Argentina, and other countries in Central and South America.
Shortly after President Trump’s comments were reported Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a string of tweets praising those comments and also announced his intent to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order from,” President Trump.
In addition, I plan to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order from President @realDonaldTrump.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
Why It Matters: Opinion
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.”
Now take the headline and apply it across the Constitution. The First, the Second, the Fourth, the Thirteenth, the Nineteenth,….etc. If a President is allowed to “EO” his or her way through our Constitution, applying the rights to some, but not all, where does it end? Where is the line and I’d even argue, what good is our founding document, if a President is not bound to it?