FLASHBACK: Harry Reid Said: ‘No Sane Country’ Would Give Citizenship To People Born From Illegal Immigrants

During an interview on Monday, President Trump said he and his administration were in the works of determining how to change the standing policy of birthright citizenship. Trump surprised some people in the interview when he said he would not need a constitutional amendment to change the citizen clause in the 14th amendment. He argued that he would not even need congressional legislation but could change the law himself via executive order.

The comment has liberals up in arms as they try to imagine President Trump unilaterally changing birthright citizenship for those people born into the U.S. from illegal immigrants.

Here’s more, per ABC News:

President Donald Trump, returning to one of his presidential campaign themes, said in an interview that he plans to use an executive order to end citizenship rights for babies born in the U.S. to parents who aren’t citizens.

“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,” Trump told Axios in an interview published Monday morning. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

“It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order,” the president said.

Before Democrats run off into their safe spaces after being triggered by the idea of ending birthright citizenship to those in the country illegally, they should probably be reminded of their own position. Former Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid, in 1993, very plainly said that “no sane country” would grant citizenship to those people born in the country to illegal immigrants.

“No sane country,” right? Check it out:

Here are his full comments:

Should the 14th amendment grant citizenship to those people born in the U.S. to parents who are not citizens? The question will likely be answered after a lengthy legal fight, but there is some research people can glean from to better understand the issue.

And, on whether the policy can be changed via executive order, per Congressman Steve King (a 2015 article):

The keys to understanding Birthright Citizenship:

  • The plain meaning of the 14th Amendment means that one must BOTH be born in United States AND be subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Since there are two explicit requirements, they both cannot be met by simply being born on U.S. soil.
  • The history of the drafting of the 14th Amendment makes clear that the language “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant a citizen could not owe allegiance to any other foreign power. This excludes illegal immigrants who are in defiance of U.S. jurisdiction and are citizens of a foreign power.
  • The Supreme Court has never held that the children of illegal immigrants born in the United States are automatically citizens.
  • Because the Supreme Court has not interpreted the Constitution to mandate automatic birthright citizenship, the Congress can pass a law to correct the current misguided and incorrect policy of automatically granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants.

And, from Law and Liberty:

In fact, such legislation has been introduced in the past—for example,  S.1351 (1993), H.R.1567 (2003), H.R.140 (2015)—and supported by Republicans and Democrats. That includes former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who stated in 1993 that “no sane country” would grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants solely because they were born on American soil. In Oforji, Judge Posner stated that “I hope [H.R.1567] passes.”

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled in favor of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. The oft-cited United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898) involved the offspring of a Chinese couple present in the United States legally. And the frequently cited language from Plyler v. Doe (1982)—a 5 to 4 decision written by the activist Justice William Brennan, hardly a strong authority—is dicta contained in a footnote! Automatic birthright citizenship for tourists and illegal immigrants is an anomaly; the United States and Canada are the only developed countries in the world to recognize it. No European country does. American voters overwhelmingly oppose birthright citizenship, by almost 2 to 1 according to a recent Rasmussen poll. Regardless whether one supports Donald Trump for President, he has raised an important issue and provoked a long overdue discussion of the subject of birthright citizenship. For that, he deserves credit.

We’ll let the courts sort this one out, but Democrats have backed the issue before.

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