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Donald Trump says he will end birthright citizenship if elected in 2024

By Jimmy Adeel
|
May 31, 2023

Former President Donald Trump plans to terminate birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

Trump announced his policy intent early Tuesday, expressing willingness to issue an executive order implementing this change as soon as he takes office, as reported by the Daily Mail.

This stance isn't novel for Trump, as it became a talking point during his previous term.

However, several legal experts posit that such a move would challenge the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which ensures citizenship to everyone born or naturalized in the United States. The ex-president, nonetheless, appears unswayed by these potential legal barriers.

Border Control and Resurrecting Past Proposals

As the leading Republican candidate, Trump has resurrected his past proposal to criticize the perceived laxity of the Biden administration's border control policies.

Trump argued that the potential for children of undocumented immigrants to gain U.S. citizenship and other benefits acted as a pull factor for entering the country under in other than lawful ways.

"Even though these undocumented immigrants enter the country illegally, their children are automatically granted U.S. citizenship," Trump lamented. He firmly maintained that this policy indirectly rewards illegal actions, which fuels the surge in undocumented immigration.

In 2018, Trump disclosed his aim to end the practice via an executive order, a plan that then-House Speaker Paul Ryan rebuffed New York Post reported.

In an interview with Axios in October of that year, Trump voiced his frustration, saying, "We are the sole nation where someone can enter, have a baby, and that child essentially becomes a U.S. citizen for 85 years, enjoying all the accompanying benefits."He emphasized his stance by reiterating, "It's absurd, simply absurd. This has to stop."

Consequences of Trump's Proposed Policy

The former President also addressed lbirth tourism,” a phenomenon where pregnant women legally visit the U.S., deliver, and subsequently leave the country. Under his proposal, at least one parent would need to be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

Trump asserts that this policy would reduce incentives for undocumented immigration, deter further entries, and compel those supposedly admitted illegally under the Biden administration to return home. He characterized the current immigration scenario as an "illegal foreign invasion" masterminded by President Biden.

A Broader Perspective on Birthright Citizenship Debate

The principle of birthright citizenship isn't exclusive to the U.S. Countries like Ireland, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom have recently scrapped or restricted this right.

Legal Challenges and Counterarguments

While most legal scholars insist that the U.S. Constitution and subsequent court decisions prevent Trump from unilaterally ending birthright citizenship, a small group of conservative scholars offers a different perspective. They interpret the full text of the 14th Amendment as potentially allowing alternative citizenship rules.

They argue that undocumented immigrants, being ineligible to vote or serve on juries, technically aren't “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. Trump seemed to suggest this interpretation in his policy video.

However, Trump has been criticized by GOP primary contenders, notably Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for his immigration policies during his previous term. DeSantis implies that Trump has been veering towards a more liberal stance on immigration since 2016, New York Times reports.

Trump's Imminent Iowa Engagements

As Trump readies for several Iowa engagements, including a Fox News town hall moderated by Sean Hannity, his revitalized position on immigration will likely dominate the discussions.

Campaign spokesperson Stephen Cheung says these upcoming events will provide a more intimate environment focused on personal interactions, deviating from Trump's usual grand-scale rallies.