Donald Trump Wants to End Birthright Citizenship

Photo from

Donald Trump has said in an interview that he wants to get rid of citizenship birthrights for children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil. This action would challenge the 14th Amendment, which states that all persons born in the U.S. will be granted citizenship.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that birthright citizenship “will be ended one way or another.” He later repeated his claim, saying that it could be eliminated by an executive order. Trump also says that the U.S. is the only country who grants birthright citizenship, saying, “It’s ridiculous” and “It has to end.” However, several other countries including Canada actually do have birthright citizenship.

Trump at a Florida rally. Photo from NBC News.

Even defendants of Trump have criticized his plans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Many legal experts say that ending birthright citizenship with an executive order would be simply impossible, that is, unless Trump finds a way to get a 2/3 vote from the House and the Senate and a 3/4 vote from the states.

At a rally last Wednesday, Trump warned about a caravan of Central American migrants approaching the Mexican border. Though the migrants were still hundreds of miles away from the border, Trump deployed 5,200 U.S. troops there. The number of troops at the border may be increased to 15,000. According to the Washington Post, this deployment would be the largest of its kind in over a century.

The caravan of migrants. Photo from ABC News.

On Thursday morning, Trump also posted a video that encouraged viewers to vote Republican in the upcoming election. The first half of the video listed the “positives” of Trump’s presidency such as economic success and employment rates, while the second half portrayed a war-zone America under left wing politicians. Another video blamed Democrats for “allowing” an undocumented immigrant who killed police officers to stay in the United States. Critics bashed the videos for being racist propaganda.

Whether Trump actually plans to end birthright citizenship or not, he continues to force the issue of immigration into voters’ minds just a week before they head to the polls. If Trump gets his way, the resulting case could go all the way to the Supreme Court. It would also loosen the way the Constitution shapes our identity as Americans and could set a precedent for the way the Constitution is interpreted in the future. Should the president be able to choose what amendments are significant?  This will surely be a central theme during the midterm elections.