OPINION: Redefining ‘birthright’ in the age of Trump
November 2, 2018
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states, in its essence, that any person born or naturalized in the United States is a citizen.
This amendment protects the children of any person in the United States except for obvious cases like the children of enemy soldiers and foreign diplomats. Recently, though, this amendment has been threatened by the President and his cadre.
Trump stated in an interview with Axios, an independent news site, that he would be targeting the birthright citizenship amendment through an executive order.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States … with all of those benefits,” the President stated. He then went on to state that “they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.” It is unclear who exactly “they” are.
However, the article itself refutes this statement by stating that more than 30 countries practice birthright citizenship.
In this, we find the doublethink present in the President’s ideology.
The undisputed fact is that we are not the only country in the world to provide birthright citizenship. It is also undisputed that executive orders are not exactly a ‘catch-all.’ Presidents like Truman and Clinton have had executive orders struck down in court.
Certainly, removing or otherwise temporarily nullifying an entire amendment of the Constitution that defines the legal foundation of our country would be a contentious move at best. Using an executive order to do so would be extremely controversial.
Not just controversial, it seems like it would be impossible, if not arduously lengthy.
Even Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House and a famous conservative, seemed to disagree with the President on the integrity of this move in a radio interview.
“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order… You know as a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution… And I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process,” said Ryan.
There seems to be little support of this move past Trump’s own statements and Fox News. The aforementioned article even states that the move “has the left and even some conservatives in an uproar.”
As if it’s news that Trump is a bit of an anomaly among conservatives.
“Arduous” seems to be the word for Trump’s administration. They do the things that are seen as unorthodox in politics, whether it be exiting the Paris Accords, the “Muslim Ban,” approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, bombing Syria, sending troops to the U.S. border in response to the migrant caravan, or the DACA controversy.
Trump has set his sights on an amendment that pertains to essentially his biggest campaign focus: immigration. He has been staunchly opposed to open borders. He has opposed seemingly any form of multi-nationalism. He has even opposed allowing an entire religious group into the country.
This could be yet another reminder of where we’ll be for the next two years. The scarier thought is that this could be where we’ll be for the next six years.
The world is on fire and we’re toasting marshmallows.