Trump: I’ll End Birthright Citizenship. Your Move, DeSantis, Scott, Haley et al.!
Print Friendly and PDF

Donald Trump made Birthright Citizenship a top issue in the 2024 presidential campaign this week, and indeed might have made it the issue. His promise to eliminate it invited a spasm of hysteria on Twitter and in the leftist Main Stream Media. But the noise didn’t matter. What mattered was Trump’s injecting this critical issue back into the political discourse. All by itself, ending Birthright Citizenship would checkmate the Democrats’ drive to Elect A New People through mass illegal immigration: babies born to illegals would not be American citizens and would hence be ineligible to vote. GOP elected officials have ignored this for far too long, even as millions of illegal aliens have invaded the country and threatened to permanently Replace the Historic American Nation. Now, Republicans must take a stand, and the ones who want to be the nominee will share Trump’s view.

Typically, the debate over Birthright Citizenship faded from public view when Trump left office. He had campaigned on eliminating it in 2016 and brought up scrapping it by Executive Order right before the 2018 midterms, reportedly at the suggestion of former White House staffer Michael Anton. Staffers apparently scuttled the idea, claiming Trump didn’t have the legal authority to issue the order. The idea was revived in Trump’s last days in office, but nothing came of it. Calling for the end of Birthright Citizenship was commendable, but his failure to issue the order or push for legislation (or even a Constitutional Amendment, a 1996 GOP platform plank notoriously Disavowed by candidate Bob Dole) can’t be overlooked. It was one of his most significant failures [Dole Rejects a Party Plank, by Frank Bruni, NYT, August 24, 1996].

But at least Trump has made Birthright Citizenship an issue again. Almost no Republican has even mentioned it since the Biden Border Rush began. Millions of illegals can now drop Anchor Babies who will be American citizens, which as a practical matter makes the parents non-deportable and enable them to establish a beachhead here. But Republicans seem blind.

In 2021, Texas Rep. Brian Babin introduced a bill to end Birthright Citizenship that gained a few co-sponsors, but, strangely, neither he nor his colleagues publicized it. This buried bill is the only example of Republicans addressing the issue since Trump left office.

Granted, Republicans discuss securing the border and increasing enforcement, but they offer no plan to deal with illegals here now. Only Trump advocates mass deportation and its logical corollary, ending Birthright Citizenship. But both are essential to ending illegal immigration and protecting the Historic American Nation.

That’s what Trump’s announcement emphasized [Agenda47: Day One Executive Order Ending Citizenship for Children of Illegals and Outlawing Birth Tourism, Donald J. Trump, May 30, 2023]. “My policy will choke off a major incentive for continued illegal immigration, deter more migrants from coming, and encourage many of the aliens Joe Biden has unlawfully let into our country to go back to their home countries,” he said.

Here’s what the order would do:

  • It will explain the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment, that U.S. Citizenship extends only to those both born in AND “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States.
  • It will make clear that going forward, the children of illegal aliens will not be granted automatic citizenship, and should not be issued passports, Social Security numbers, or be eligible for certain taxpayer funded welfare benefits.
  • It will direct federal agencies to require that at least one parent be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident for their future children to become automatic U.S. citizens.

Birth tourism” will also end:

  • Through “Birth Tourism,” tens of thousands of foreign nationals fraudulently enter the U.S. each year during the final weeks of their pregnancies for the sole purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for their child.
  • Under the current erroneous interpretation, the children of these foreign nationals are then eligible to receive a host of government benefits reserved for U.S. citizens, including a myriad of welfare programs and taxpayer funded healthcare, as well as chain migration and the right to vote.

And Trump justified those orders legally:

  • Constitutional scholars have shown for decades that granting automatic citizenship to the children of illegal aliens born in the United States is based on a patently incorrect interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
  • The 14th Amendment extends federal citizenship to “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”
  • The purpose of the 14th Amendment had nothing to do with the citizenship of immigrants, let alone the citizenship of the children of illegal aliens. Its purpose was to extend citizenship to people newly freed from slavery, whose status was left in question after the infamous case Dred Scott v. Sandford.
  • The framers of the 14th Amendment made clear that “persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers” are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S.
  • For years, open-borders proponents have deliberately misinterpreted “subject to the jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment to mean merely subject to American law, which is the case for anyone physically present in the United States.
  • This twisting of the amendment’s meaning and intent has caused America to become one of the few countries in the world to extend citizenship to the children of illegal aliens even if both parents are not citizens nor even legally present in the United States, thus diluting the privileges that Americans are entitled to.

Outrage ensued, e.g., Trump Promises to Violate 14th Amendment ‘On Day One,’ by Nikki McCann Ramirez, Rolling Stone, May 30, 2023. Rolling Stone obviously knows as much about the 14th Amendment as it does about rape at the University of Virginia.

Much coverage claimed that Michael Anton is wrong and that Trump can’t revoke Birthright Citizenship through Executive Order. The rational answer: Let’s find out! Issue the order and let the U.S. Supreme Court decide. Considering its conservative composition, SCOTUS could well rule that the 14th Amendment does not support Birthright Citizenship. And because Congress certainly won’t eliminate it, the president must act. It’s up to the president to send it to the high court, which actually created the problem in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

Beyond that, for those who always said Trump’s game was “4D Chess,” he just played something of a brilliancy. He is forcing the rest of the 2024’s Republican field to discuss it. In fact, many of the candidates have previously supported ending Birthright Citizenship. But now, they must at least discuss it, and most likely, take a position.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis supported abolition when he ran for governor in 2018 [Scott mum, DeSantis supports Trump’s proposal to end Birthright Citizenship, by Matt Dixon, Politico, October 30, 2018]. And he apparently still holds this view. His campaign attacked Trump’s announcement over him failing to do this as president.

Presumably, this means DeSantis also intends to scrap Birthright Citizenship, but he may not pledge to do it via Executive Order. Expect more comments about it given that he wants to run to Trump’s right, particularly on immigration.

Former Veep Mike Pence, expected to announce his presidential bid next week, has previously forcefully defended Trump’s idea to scrap Birthright Citizenship. “[T]he Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” he said in 2018 [Vice President Mike Pence says Trump’s plan to curb Birthright Citizenship may be constitutional, by Maureen Groppe, USA Today, October 30, 2018].

Chris Christie, also expected to announce his run next week, appeared to support the idea when he ran in 2016. “I think all this stuff needs to be reexamined in light of the current circumstances,” he said in a 2015 radio interview. “[Birthright Citizenship] may have made sense at some point in our history, but right now, we need to re-look at all that” [Christie no longer sure about Birthright Citizenship, by Steve Benen, MSNBC, August 12, 2015].

Commentator Larry Elder, who announced his run to little notice in April, is also on board.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, who announced last month, has sounded open to the idea. “We are a nation of compassion, and a nation of laws,” he said when Trump discussed it five years ago. “For too long, our immigration laws have been taken advantage of, and, in this case, may actually encourage illegal immigration. I look forward to reviewing proposals set forth by both the White House and my colleagues in the Senate, and taking an important step forward in reforming our immigration system” [Support, opposition in SC for Trump’s plan to end Birthright Citizenship, by Caitlin Byrd, Post and Courier, October 30, 2018].

Thus Trump has cornered the other candidates. They can’t avoid the issue. Some might change their stance to fit their current campaign pitch. Maybe Scott will formally state he opposes an end to Birthright Citizenship to demonstrate he’s the “pro-immigrant” candidate. Others might just oppose Trump’s announcement on the grounds a president can’t overturn a SCOTUS ruling with an Executive Order.

But that’s the only way we can end it in the foreseeable future. Issue the Executive Order, wait for the inevitable Treason Lobby lawsuit, and force the nine robed Solons to rule on it.

One possible snag: The court punts. It blocks Trump’s order without reconsidering Wong and says Congress must resolve the matter with legislation or a constitutional amendment, the way it ought to be done.

But at least Birthright Citizenship will have become a political issue—and, once Americans understand it, it’s massively unpopular.

Bottom line: Trump is way out front on the critical issues of mass deportation and Birthright Citizenship reform. Other candidates will have to catch up if they hope to win the Republican base.

Washington Watcher II [Email him] is an anonymous DC insider.

Print Friendly and PDF