In an exclusive interview with Axios published Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he plans on ending birthright citizenship for those who were born in the U.S. from illegal or non-citizens.
“On immigration, some legal scholars believe you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution,” the Axios reporter said.
“With an executive order,” Trump said, interrupting him.
The reporter then asked Trump if he had thought about using an executive order for such an action.
“Yes,” the president replied. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.”
“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. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, and it has to end,” Trump continued.
Axios asked if Trump had sought counsel about taking such action. The president said he had and that it was “in the process” and that “it will happen.”
Trump seemed surprised and impressed that the reporter knew he was thinking about signing an executive order about birthright citizenship.
“I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one,” he said.
If the president follows through and signs an executive order of this magnitude, it would be the toughest stance he’s taken on immigration since taking office.
Axios noted that if the president decides to do it, the courts could be tied up in a debate over the 14th amendment which says, “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.”
Those in favor of such an executive order argue that the 14th amendment was meant only for those whose parents were lawful residents within the United States, and not for those who came here illegally or are on temporary visas.
Opponents say the president doesn’t have authority to change the Constitution and that signing an executive order like this would be unconstitutional.
Axios also noted that until the 1960s, the 14th amendment was only applied to those who were born in the United States from parents who came here lawfully.
While the Supreme Court ruled that those born in the United States from legal immigrants have citizenship, there has been no ruling beyond that.
John Eastman, director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told Axios that if Trump signs the order, “the courts would have to weigh in in a way they haven’t.”
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