Any move on citizenship is sure to be challenged in USA courts

Glen Norman
November 1, 2018

Trump's citizenship proposal would inevitably spark a long-shot legal battle over whether the president can alter the long-accepted understanding that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to any child born on USA soil, regardless of his parents' immigration status.

"Birthright citizenship is a very, very important subject".

"Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!".

In a statement on October 31, Reid said he "made a mistake" by proposing a bill that would alter birthright citizenship, claiming that his wife confronted him shortly after and changed his mind.

"The Constitution does not - I say that to the media - does not require it". Responding to critics on Wednesday, he said that birthright citizenship will be abolished "one way or another". 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".

In Trump's Monday interview with Fox, he said the USA also plans to build tent cities to house migrants seeking asylum, who would be detained until their cases were completed.


Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of trying to distract attention from healthcare policy, which Democrats have identified as a top election issue.

His comments come days after he told "Axios on HBO" that he could revoke the policy, a right enshrined in the 14th Amendment, via executive order. And when he did differ with Trump, it was on the point of process, not explicitly coming down one way or the other whether birthright citizenship ought to be altered in the first place.

Napolitano said the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to mean the same thing for 150 years.

The doctrine of birthright citizenship was established by the US Supreme Court in the 1898 decision in Wong Kim Ark v. the United States, a case brought by the US-born son of Chinese nationals.

Trump campaigned on building a wall on the border with Mexico and reforming U.S. immigration laws.

The 14th Amendment begins: "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".


He added Wednesday: "Many legal scholars agree" with his interpretation. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous and it has to end", he said.

Trump repeated his claim that he can eliminate birthright citizenship via executive order later Wednesday, although he said his preference would be for Congress to pass legislation ending that constitutional right.

"This has not been a serious debate other than in academic circles", said Napolitano.

Trump also said the issue would ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. We all cherish the language of the 14th Amendment. Six of the Justices ruled that the phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" applied to any person required to obey United States laws, meaning even children of foreigners residing in the country permanently or temporarily.

More broadly, Trump's view that USA -born children of foreigners live a lifetime of taking "all those benefits" ignores the taxes they pay, the work they do and their other contributions to society. However, White House lawyers expect to work with the Justice Department to develop a legal justification for the action.

The country is facing a massive backlog of immigration cases - some 700,000 - and there are more and more families coming across the border from Central America - groups who can not be simply returned over the border.


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