Yesterday in his impromptu White House lawn press gaggle, President Trump mentioned that he was considering an Executive Order that would eliminate automatic citizenship for children born on U.S. soil to persons who are not citizens.
“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby – congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. … It’s frankly ridiculous.”
But can he do it? I mean, would it be legal. Doesn’t the 14th amendment guarantee citizenship to those born in the USA? Wouldn’t that make it beyond the reach of an Executive Order?
Not really. That’s the opinion of some Constitutional scholars, and Democrats didn’t always think that citizenship was guaranteed to the children of non-citizens.
“If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right?” Harry Reid said in 1993. “Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides, and that’s a lot of services.
Perhaps Reid and fellow Democrats believed this before they viewed anchor babies as future voters.
Varying points of view are outlined in WESTERN JOURNAL:
The Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky wrote for The Daily Signal last year:
“Contrary to popular belief, the 14th Amendment doesn’t say that all people born in the U.S. are citizens. It says that ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ are citizens. That second, critical, conditional phrase is conveniently ignored or misinterpreted by advocates of ‘birthright’ citizenship.
“Critics of the president’s possible action erroneously claim that anyone present in the United States has ‘subjected’ himself or herself ‘to the jurisdiction’ of the United States, which would extend citizenship to the children of tourists, diplomats, and illegal immigrants alike.
“But that is not what that qualifying phrase means. Its original meaning refers to the political allegiance of an individual and the jurisdiction that a foreign government has over that individual.
“The fact that tourists or illegal immigrants are subject to our laws and our courts if they violate our laws means that they are subject to the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. and can be prosecuted. But it does not place them within the political ‘jurisdiction’ of the United States, as that phrase was defined by the framers of the 14th Amendment.”
Of course, this won’t settle the question in the eyes of those in the media and others on the left. Expect more emotional questions from supposedly objective reporters about the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty. Fortunately, those reporters aren’t judges.
I’m sure it is inevitable that any such Executive Order would be challenged in the courts, and most likely end up at the Supreme Court. How the judges will rule is the question.