On Monday, President Trump said he was about to turn the immigration system on its head.
All his talks of immigration reform and his petitions to Congress to work on a deal may be taking a backseat to a new initiative Trump said his administration was working towards. Via executive order, Trump said he was going to change birthright citizenship for people born in the United States to parents who are not legal citizens.
Trump explained details of the major immigration move during an exclusive interview with Axios, where he said he previously thought that it would take an amendment to the Constitution or at least legislation from Congress to change the birthright law. But, Trump said he was speaking to his legal counsel and they believe he could walk a fine line in barring some birthright citizenships via executive order.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment,” the president said. “Guess what? You don’t.”
“You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” he added.
Check it out, per Fox News:
President Trump said in a newly released interview he plans to sign an executive order ending so-called “birthright citizenship” for babies of non-citizens born on U.S. soil — a move that would mark a major overhaul of immigration policy and trigger an almost-certain legal battle.
Birthright citizenship allows any baby born on U.S. soil to automatically be a U.S. citizen.
The policy, which stems from a disputed but long-recognized interpretation of the 14th Amendment, has given rise to what Trump considers abuse of the immigration system.
And, via Associated Press:
Revoking birthright citizenship would spark a court fight over whether the president has the unilateral ability to change an amendment to the Constitution. The 14th Amendment guarantees that right for all children born in the U.S.
Asked about the legality of such an executive order, Trump said, “they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
Trump 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.”
Here’s a partial transcript between Trump and Axios’ Jonathan Swan, via Twitchy:
Trump: “…well you can definitely do it with an act of Congress, now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order. Now how ridiculous. We’re 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.”
Swan: “Have you talked to about that with counsel?”
Trump: “Yeah. I have.”
Swan: “So, where in the process?”
Trump: “It’s in the process. It’ll happen. We go an executive order, that’s what you’re talking, right?”
Swan: “Yes, exactly”
Trump: “That’s very interesting… I didn’t think anyone knew that but me. I thought I was the only one. Jonathan, I’m impressed.
The legal argument over whether Trump can change the birthright law via executive order hinges on different interpretations of the 14th amendment.
As Politico reports, the 14th Amendment reads, in part: “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.”
According to the report, the amendment itself may not apply to people in the country illegally, or here on a temporary visa. This sort of interpretation would draw into question the legal status of people born into the country and would subsequently allow Trump and Congress to legislate the differentiation.
Via Politico: “Some immigration hardliners have argued that the 14th Amendment is not applicable to those not in the U.S. legally or here only on a temporary visa. Trump, who has long promised to end birthright citizenship, told Axios that instead of amending the Constitution, he has been advised that his administration could end the practice through executive order.”