President Trump said in a new interview that he will sign an executive order intended to end the practice of birthright citizenship.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said during an interview with Axios.
“You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” the president added. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits.”
The White House is preparing an order that would declare an end to the longstanding staple of America’s immigration system. It sets up the Trump administration for a battle at the Supreme Court over the 14th Amendment, which states that all persons “born or naturalized in the United States” are “citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
In the interview, which is set to air Nov. 4 on “Axios on HBO,” Trump refers to the right of citizenship granted to anyone born within the country’s borders as “ridiculous” and expressed surprise that anyone outside of the Oval Office knew about the White House’s plans.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” Trump told Axios, adding: “I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one.”
In 2010, “there were 4.5 million U.S.-born children whose parents were unauthorized [illegal],” according to the Pew Hispanic Center (Pew Hispanic Research Trends Project, “A Nation of Immigrants: A Portion of the 40 Million, Including 11 Million Unauthorized,” Pew Hispanic Center, Jan. 29, 2013.)
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has estimated that nearly 200,000 children are born annually “to foreign women admitted as visitors, that is, tourists, students, guest workers, and other non-immigrant categories.”
Eight percent of all U.S. births (approximately 350,000 a year) come from at least one illegal-alien parent, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has introduced H.R.140, the Birthright Citizenship Act, which would end the practice by requiring that at least one of the child’s parents be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S.301.
The Immigration and Nationality Act defines Birthright Citizenship in the United States, but there is also a clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. While the Supreme Court has interpreted the latter Birthright Citizenship clause as it applies to legal immigrants, it has never done so with regard to illegal aliens.
The president’s reported plan to end birthright citizenship comes amid some of his administration’s strongest rhetoric surrounding a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants bound for the U.S., where many members plan to apply for asylum.
Trump has made controversial remarks about the caravan, which he has referred to as an “invasion” of migrants “and some very bad people.”
“Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” the president tweeted Monday.
Many Gang Members and some very bad people are mixed into the Caravan heading to our Southern Border. Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process. This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2018