On the morning of October 30th, 2018, Axios released a bombshell exclusive report stating that President Trump is planning to target birthright citizenship. The president has long been a critic of birthright citizenship, and Axios reports that the president is signaling that he will end birthright citizenship through an executive order.
According to the story, President Trump, who has previously acknowledged a fact that virtually all legal experts agree on — birthright citizenship is a constitutional right — is now personally backtracking on that position. He has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship via executive fiat by his legal team, and that he “plans to proceed with the highly controversial move.”
Three Huge Problems With President Trump’s Planned Attack on Birthright Citizenship
President Trump’s Proposal is Blatantly Unconstitutional
The most obvious, pressing problem with President’s Trump proposal to end birthright citizenship through an executive order is that the move is clearly unconstitutional. Birthright citizenship is not a law. Birthright citizenship is not an administrative policy that was created by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is not citizenship through naturalization.
Birthright citizenship is a basic constitutional right. It is enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment. As the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) notes the guarantee of birthright citizenship has been clearly defined. It is protected by the United Constitution and it cannot be removed by an executive order, nor can it be removed by an act of Congress.
Birthright Citizenship is a Weapon Against Racism
The problem with President Trump’s proposal is not just that it is unconstitutional, it is also that it is terrible, racist policy idea. As one of the leading experts on this topic — Martha S. Jones — wrote in a Washington Post column, birthright citizenship helps to fight back against racism. In her critically acclaimed book on birthright citizenship, Jones explains how freed slaves and African American activists were able to transform that very notion of citizenship in the 19th century.
The (Illegal) Proposal Would Create a Stateless Underclass
Finally, in a hypothetical world where President Trump’s unlawful executive order were to be put into place, it would create huge social problems. The proposal would create a permanent underclass of stateless people. An infant born and raised within the United States would have no legal right to citizenship this country, or in any other country. Their home country would be the United States, yet they could be subject to possible deportation. Of course, this means that they would not simply be non-American citizens, it means that they would not be citizens anywhere in the world. The proposal is horrific and tragic. All lawmakers, particularly Republicans, should stand up forcefully against it.
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