In late October, President Donald Trump said he was preparing an executive order revoking the constitutional guarantee to citizenship if you are born on U.S. soil. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, a Republican, said Trump couldn’t revoke birthright citizenship with an executive order.
“You obviously cannot do that … 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 lengthy constitutional process,” Ryan said.
When leaders of the president’s own party are saying he can’t end birthright citizenship with an executive order, it is obvious Trump won’t actually be able to do it. He is simply saying whatever he needs to in order to keep his voter base happy and supportive of his presidency.
The 14th Amendment states, “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.”
This means anyone born in the U.S. is considered a citizen, which has sparked debate as to whether children of undocumented immigrants deserve to be considered citizens or not.
If a person is born on U.S. soil, regardless of their parents’ citizenship status, they deserve to be considered a citizen. Birthright citizenship is ingrained in the Constitution and a cornerstone of democracy.
Trump is targeting “anchor babies” and “chain migration” with this executive order. This will result in a standoff with the courts, as Trump’s power to do this remains a debate.
This executive order threat is simply a ploy by Trump to gain voters before this year’s midterm election.
“A president doesn’t get to decide on his own who’s an American citizen and who’s not. That’s not how the Constitution of the United States works. That’s not how the Bill of Rights works. That’s not how democracy works,” former President Barack Obama said at a rally on Nov. 2.
Obama is absolutely correct in regards to the president’s powers, and it is a shame our current president has little knowledge and understanding of the limits on his power. Trump’s attempt at using an executive order to amend the Constitution shows how unqualified he is to hold office.
Amending the Constitution is very difficult because any change must be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, and then ratified by three-fourths of the states. That fact makes it obvious how desperate Trump is to revoke the 14th Amendment.
In the 1898 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, the court ruled that a person born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, even if his or her parents are not. Birthright citizenship is a powerful tool against racism and must be protected.
Max Nedanovich is a 21-year-old mass communication junior from Mandeville, Louisiana.