President Donald Trump still insists that that he has the authority to overturn a constitutional amendment that grants U.S. citizenship to anyone born on American soil.
Writing in a Wednesday tweet, the president suggested that the 14th Amendment was meant only to apply to persons already subject to federal jurisdiction. Trump, who’s signaled that he may soon file an executive order overturning birthright citizenship, said the Supreme Court can settle the legal nuances.
“So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or another. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree,” Trump wrote.
So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Many legal scholars agree…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2018
In a follow-up tweet, Trump reinforced his willingness to drag the matter before the courts.
“… Harry Reid was right in 1993, before he and the Democrats went insane and started with the Open Borders (which brings massive Crime) “stuff.” Don’t forget the nasty term Anchor Babies,” Trump tweeted. “I will keep our Country safe. This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!”
‘Anchor babies,’ notes POLITICO, refers to the idea that some undocumented immigrants come to the United States to have children. Once their children acquired citizenship by birthright, other family members have avenues into the country, too.
Trump’s desire to overturn the 14th Amendment came about in a Tuesday interview. He told Axios that he ‘disapproves’ of giving citizenship to children born of undocumented immigrants on U.S. soil.
Trump erroneously claimed that no other country in the world has a birthright provision similar to the United States’. In fact, POLITICO says that more than 30 countries, including Canada, do.
The 14th Amendment states that that “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.”
POLITICO says that “subject to jurisdiction thereof” is usually applied to the children of foreign diplomats, who cannot claim birthright citizenship. But Trump’s taken the phrase to mean that illegal immigrants aren’t legally under U.S. jurisdiction, even though they are, in fact, still subject to American laws and local ordinances.
Trump’s reference to “many legal scholars” seemed true only to his longstanding tradition of baseless claims. USA Today spoke to Sarah E. Turberville, director of The Constitution Project with the Project on Government Oversight. According to Turberville, the 14th Amendment isn’t open to negotiation.
“The 14th Amendment is explicit on this question: Persons born in the U.S. are citizens of the U.S. and of the states in which they reside,” she said. “You can quibble over whether this is a good policy, but you can’t quibble over what the Constitution very specifically says on the manner.”
Even Republican legislators signaled skepticism, with House Majority Leader Paul Ryan saying, “I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”
That process would likely have to include legislation and an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.