Washington: President Donald Trump’s decision to bring an executive order to end the right to the US citizenship for children born in the US to non-citizens has invited widespread criticism, even from his own party.
In his latest hardline immigration rhetoric ahead of the midterm congressional elections, Trump, in an interview with Axios, has said birthright citizenship “has to end” and that it would “with an executive order.”
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits,” Trump told Axios in an interview that aired Tuesday. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
“It’s in the process. It’ll happen with an executive order,” he said, adding that he’s consulted with the White House counsel on the matter.
Under the 14th Amendment, citizenship is awarded to children born in the U.S., or in U.S. territories, to parents of immigrants to the country. Hours later, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who rarely breaks with the president, rejected Trump’s comments, explaining that the president “cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”
“You obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives, we believe in the Constitution,” Ryan told WVLK radio. “I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case, the 14th Amendment’s pretty clear, and that would involve a very very lengthy Constitutional process.
Asked about Trump’s promise on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said the President has the “right to raise that debate” if he wants but “this notion that he can simply violate the Constitution by executive order, let’s face it, no serious legal scholar thinks that’s real.”
“This is simply an attempt for Donald Trump, who wants to do anything possible to bring back fears around immigration, to use that as a political tool in this last week before the election,” Warner said.
“This is again, where a President’s words matter. The Constitution is quite clear that no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law.” The White House did not provide additional details of the planned executive order on Tuesday morning.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” he said, adding that he has run it by his counsel. “You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” Trump said.
The President didn’t provide any details of his plan, but said that “it’s in the process. It’ll happen.”