Trump Declares He's 'Looking At' Executive Order To End Birthright Citizenship


It’s one of the hottest of buttons in the immigration debate.

But President Donald Trump pushed it almost casually on Wednesday when he told reporters outside the White House he was looking “seriously” at an executive order ending automatic citizenship for every child born on American soil, blowing new life into a debate that’s almost sure to burn right into the 2020 presidential campaign.

The comment came as Trump was preparing to leave Washington to attend a veterans’ convention in Kentucky.

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship,” Trump said. “Where you have a baby on our land — you walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby’s now a U.S. citizen.

“We’re looking at it very, very seriously.”

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As The Hill noted, Trump proposed ending birthright citizenship during his presidential campaign before the 2016 election and last year said he would sign an executive order ending it, but never did so.

The question sparked endless debate — with liberals naturally opposing anything the president is in favor of.

However, the debate soon revealed that not all Democrats were always so reflexively protective of those who entered the United States illegally.

Do you think the president can end birthright citizenship by executive order?

One video made the rounds showing no less a liberal than former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declaring that “no sane country” would reward foreign nationals for breaking its laws by accepting their children as citizens. (The video was from 1993 when Reid was still just a senator, so maybe he hadn’t yet been absolutely corrupted by the Democratic power he later attained.)

Many opponents say that because birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, it’s beyond the reach of an executive order, though some prominent scholars disagree.

As The Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky wrote for The Daily Signal last year:

“Contrary to popular belief, the 14th Amendment doesn’t say that all people born in the U.S. are citizens. It says that ‘all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ are citizens. That second, critical, conditional phrase is conveniently ignored or misinterpreted by advocates of ‘birthright’ citizenship.

“Critics of the president’s possible action erroneously claim that anyone present in the United States has ‘subjected’ himself or herself ‘to the jurisdiction’ of the United States, which would extend citizenship to the children of tourists, diplomats, and illegal immigrants alike.

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“But that is not what that qualifying phrase means. Its original meaning refers to the political allegiance of an individual and the jurisdiction that a foreign government has over that individual.

“The fact that tourists or illegal immigrants are subject to our laws and our courts if they violate our laws means that they are subject to the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. and can be prosecuted. But it does not place them within the political ‘jurisdiction’ of the United States, as that phrase was defined by the framers of the 14th Amendment.”

That’s not the argument liberals are going to want to hear — get ready for more teary-eyed questions from supposedly objective reporters about the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty.

But there’s a good reason journalists don’t become judges.

Like so many issues in the Trump presidency, the question could well end up in front of the Supreme Court before it’s finally resolved.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.