Donald Trump has said birthright citizenship “will be ended one way or the other”. He also falsely claiming the policy is not covered by the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.
The president tweeted the remarks following widespread outrage over an interview in which he announced plans to terminate the right to citizenship for babies born on US soil to non-citizens.
“So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other,” he wrote. “It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ Many legal scholars agree…”
Nearly an hour later, the president wrote in a follow up tweet, “Don’t forget the nasty term anchor babies.”
“I will keep our Country safe,” he added. “This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!”
Mr Trump is incorrect in his claims the amendment does not cover birthright citizenship, as he appears to have suggested Wednesday morning. The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 shortly after the US Civil War, granting citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves who had just been freed.
The amendment has also been applied to immigrant children born in the US in numerous legal examples, dating as far back as 1898 in the case of United States v Wong Kim Ark.
The US Supreme Court held at that time children born to foreigners residing legally within the country “becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.”
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The amendment was also found to protect undocumented children nearly a century later in the 1982 case Plyler v Doe, which ruled its equal protection clause applied to undocumented immigrants seeking public school admission.
Mr Trump also negated the fact that, after a portion of the Axios interview was released on 30 October, a crowd of constitutional scholars hotly disagreed with him.
Lawmakers, legal experts and civil rights groups alike swiftly rejected the president’s claims surrounding birthright citizenship, including his threats to halt the practice via the signing of an executive order.
US law does not allow executive orders to override constitutional amendments; instead, executive orders must work within the parameters of the Constitution. When they are found to be illegal or outside the scope of the president’s executive powers, they are immediately overturned. This has happened on numerous occasions under Mr Trump.
However, with less than a week until the crucial midterm elections, it appeared Mr Trump was ratcheting up controversies surrounding immigration — an issue that helped him soar to the Oval Office in 2016.