President Donald Trump claimed he wants to sign an executive order that would deny the right to citizenship for children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States.
He did not say when he would sign that order, but Trump deemed the birthright citizenship policy “ridiculous” and said he wants to terminate it during an interview for Axios on HBO, CNN reported.
“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 85 years with all of those benefits,” he said.
“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” the president added.
In fact, around 30 other countries in the world share the same law with the U.S., known as jus soli (right of the soil), according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies — including Canada. Although Trump didn’t go into detail about his approach, he claimed “it’s in the process. It’ll happen.”
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “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,” but President Trump now says that he can effectively change the law without amending the constitution, written in 1868, by resorting to an executive order.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. 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,” Trump said, claiming he had confirmed it with his counsel.
But as reported by the Daily Mail, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services chief counsel Lynden Melmed told Axios that it is much harder for the president to change birthright citizenship than he believes. And Judge James Ho, who was appointed by Trump to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, also added that changing how the 14th Amendment is interpreted and applied would be “unconstitutional.”
Many have insisted that the 14th Amendment was never intended to give illegal immigrants’ children citizenship and that it has been wrongly used for years. Which means Trump could change how it is applied with an executive order, so that birthright citizenship is only given to children born of legal permanent residents.
Trump’s interview is part of a new four-part HBO documentary series airing this Sunday.