According to CBS News, Trump told “Axios on HBO” he wants to “remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S.-soil.”
“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 85 years with all of those benefits,” the president was quoted as saying. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
During the campaign Trump released a position paper on immigration that also took a potshot at Nevada’s then-Sen. Harry Reid. “End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it’s the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said ‘no sane country’ would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.”
Of course, Reid said in 1993 and, as with so many other positions over the years, he has since “evolved” to the opposite stance.
“If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee access to all public and social services this country provides,” Reid said on the floor of the Senate in 1993 in support of a bill that would eliminate so-called birthright citizenship. “Now that’s a lot of services. Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer expense at county run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?”
CBS quotes the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War, as saying “all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens,” though they left out a phrase: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States …”
CBS noted that the Supreme Court has upheld this rule for legal permanent residents, but has never decided a citizenship case involving an illegal immigrant or a short-term visitor to the U.S.
Birthright citizenship is the result of the 1898 Supreme Court case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark in which the court ruled 5-4 that a child born in the United States of parents of Chinese descent is a citizen by virtue of birth under the 14th Amendment. At the time there was no such thing as an illegal immigrant.
It has been argued that Congress could overturn birthright citizenship, but can Trump with an executive order? There is sure to be litigation if Trump follows through on this.
Trump on HBO:
Reid in 1993: