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Trump proposes end of citizenship for children of immigrants

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Nov 6th 2018 10:00 pm
American NIGHTMARE President Donald Trump (above) is 
trying to strip citizenship from children of immigrants. This will affect 
millions of American citizens who have already built their lives in this country.
American NIGHTMARE President Donald Trump (above) is trying to strip citizenship from children of immigrants. This will affect millions of American citizens who have already built their lives in this country.

Recently, United States President Donald Trump, proposed a ban on birthright citizenship. For those who don’t know, birthright citizenship is a policy that “ensures any child born on US soil has guaranteed American citizenship regardless of the status of their parents,” according to Vox. This proposed ban would deny citizenship to children of undocumented migrant families. One potential motivation for this claim by Trump would be political.

A law professor detailed this possibility in a Vox article, stating Trump’s claims could be aimed at getting people fired up over the issue, specifically, liberals. The professor also went on to say this tactic is often used when there is other bad news to cover up, and such claims are used as a distraction, which Trump will eventually turn around and blame liberal media for pushing back on. With media coverage caught up in a scandal, something worse is happening. The travel ban was something many thought was just another attempt at throwing people off what actually produced real results.

Vox went on to quote the 14 amendment, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States,” but acknowledging that, Trump’s former Deputy National Security Adviser, Michael Anton, raised questions about what “to the jurisdiction thereof” means exactly. According to Anton, as reported by Vox, any person that isn’t a United States citizen owes allegiance to somewhere else, meaning that their children would also have allegiance to their parents’ native country. The article continues by exploring the idea that it is not the child, but the parents who owe their allegiance to another place.

Historically, the birthright citizenship pertained to freed slaves, therefore Anton believes this has nothing to do with illegal immigrants. It is worth pointing out  even after the importation of Africans was banned in 1807, slaves were still illegally transported to the U.S. Thus, the children of these illegally imported, undocumented people were among those freed slaves. Further, the 14 amendment was originally created in opposition with the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott ruling.


A small amount of scholars continue debating the interpretations of the 14 amendment, claiming children of immigrants are not entitled to citizenship. However, this conversely opposes previous Supreme Court decisions, according to The Guardian.

Trump seems to think this issue is something he can handle with an executive order. According to NBC News coverage of an interview Trump did with Axios on Tuesday, Oct. 30. Trump had this to say during the interview: “We're the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits.”

Before long, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the president “cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” according to NBC News.

An opinion piece published on Bloomberg seems fairly confident that even if Trump actually follows through, he would most likely lose in court, albeit by a narrow ruling. The author uses the supreme court Kent v. Dulles as an example of canon of constitutional avoidance, which is the safeguard of checks and balances that limits the president.

In the 1898 Supreme Court case United States v Wong Kim Ark the birthright provision was put to test. Wong Kim Ark’s parents were Chinese immigrants in San Francisco but the Chinese Exclusion Act was in place during the case, banning those Chinese from entering the United States. The final ruling was as follows: “Citizenship by birth is established by the mere fact of birth under the circumstances defined in the constitution.”

One thing is certain, if Trump does follow through with his plan there will be a lot of people pushing back against this new policy. Not only children born to undocumented immigrants, but also many others who believe in these people’s basic human rights according to the United States constitution.

Even those who don’t believe in taking the constitution verbatim as the framers wrote it, believe in the 14 amendment and will fight to uphold it by any means neccesary.

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