President Trump’s Plan to Revoke Birthright Citizenship Draws Ire

Almost 25 percent of Californians are native-born children of at least one immigrant parent. Photo Credit: Shawn 1/Pixabay

Suzanne Potter
California News Service

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Civil-rights groups are dismissing President Donald Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship, calling it an unconstitutional election-week stunt to appeal to his base.

Trump said in an interview Monday October 29 that he’s planning an executive order revoking the right to automatic citizenship for people born on American soil and will reserve it only for babies with at least one parent who is a citizen.

Tom Jawetz, vice president for immigration policy with the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said birthright citizenship is spelled out in the Constitution’s 14th Amendment and cannot be erased single-handedly by the president.

“This test balloon from the president is a lead balloon,” Jawetz said. “It’s got no constitutional ground on which to stand, and courts will not uphold whatever executive order the president issues that’s designed to limit the reach of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment.”

The 14th Amendment was put in place after the Civil War to protect former slaves and their children, and has been open to different interpretations over the years. Trump said on Monday that it’s ridiculous for someone to have citizenship solely because they’re born in the United States, but any such executive order would provoke litigation because the Constitution can only be changed by a two-thirds majority in Congress or passage by two-thirds of state legislatures.

Jawetz said he sees the president’s proposal, along with the militarization of the border and the stream of insulting tweets directed at immigrants, as part of a broad policy agenda.

“Under this administration, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the grant of visas to people from Muslim-majority countries. We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in foreign students, a dramatic decrease in the admission of refugees,” he said. “So, this administration has had a full-frontal assault, not just on the issue of illegal immigration but on all immigrants into this country.”

According to the American Immigration Council, California is home to more immigrants than any other state. More than a quarter of California residents are immigrants, while nearly one in four is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.