Trump's plans for a new executive order: The President stated that he wants to change the 14th Amendment to remove birthright citizenship
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President Trump made clear his plans to eliminate guaranteed birthright citizenship through an executive order on the week of October 30th, which has worried both Republicans and Democrats worried. An order like this would have wide-ranging impacts in regard to current and future immigrants, the power of the executive order vs. the power of Congress, and the constitutional rights of all Americans.
President Trump’s plans became publicly known after a snippet of an interview with Axiom was released last week. This is another attempt on his part to fix the immigration issues in America. In it, Trump falsely stated: “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 for 85 years, with all of those benefits.” In reality, there are over 30 other countries around the world that have birthright citizenship, but most of the opposition is not directed towards Trump’s false claims, but rather his ability to make this type of an executive order.
To accomplish this, Trump would need to change the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which states: “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.” The balance of powers in America requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of Congress or a two-thirds majority of state legislatures are needed to change or undo an amendment to the Constitution. According to New York Times, many scholars agree that Trump does not have the power to make an executive order of this magnitude, and that he will not get nearly enough traction to get it through Congress.
Trump’s intentions have stirred the public’s attention because of the legal, ethical and moral implications of his order. Senior Mateo Arroyave, who himself is a citizen through birthright, isn’t surprised that Trump wants to work to end illegal immigration, but is alarmed by the scapegoating and blame shifting that Trump continues to engage in. Arroyave adds, “Trump is trying to de-incentivize illegal immigration, but it seems unfair that the vehicle to doing so is to punish innocent people.” He believes that this issue is not only about children gaining citizenship through birthright, but also about an ambiguous 14th Amendment, and the conservative right’s motivation to ignite their base and shift attention elsewhere during the election season.
President Trump is facing a lot of backlash over his comments in the Axiom interview, but has also managed to rally some of his supporters to endorse this order. As of press time, it is unknown whether or not Trump will follow through on the executive order, but if he does it is expected he will be met with great resistance from the left, and members of the right as well. Eventually it could be up to the houses of Congress to decide if children of immigrants will be granted citizenship upon birth, which could forever change of the rights of immigrants in America.