Trump to Sign Executive Order Terminating Birthright Citizenship for Non-US Citizens

October 30, 2018 Updated: December 29, 2018

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order that would remove birthright citizenship for babies born on American soil to mothers who are not citizens of the United States.

“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,” Trump told the left-leaning Axios blog.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

It’s unclear when exactly Trump plans to sign the order.

14th Amendment

At issue is section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

“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,” the amendment states.

Some experts have said that the amendment guarantees birthright citizenship even to children of non-citizens.

For instance, Judge James C. Ho, who was appointed by Trump to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, wrote in a 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed that it would be “unconstitutional” to change how the amendment was applied.

Female illegal immigrant in detention center
A Guatemalan woman in a federal detention facility for illegal immigrant mothers and children in Artesia, New Mexico, on Sept. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)

Can He Change It?

While some experts believe Trump can’t by himself change the birthright citizenship currently afforded to even children born to illegal aliens, the president said he’s been informed he can make the change.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump told Axios.

“You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

And some experts agree with him.

trump to end birthright citizenship with order
President Donald Trump arrives at the White House on Aug. 22, 2018. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told Axios that the line in the 14th Amendment “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” originally referred to people with full allegiance to the United States, or green card holders and citizens.

“What they’re saying is, if you’re born on U.S. soil subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, meaning you’re the child of citizens or the child of legal immigrants, then you are entitled to citizenship,” Michael Anton, a former Trump administration official, told Fox News.

“If you’re here illegally, if you owe allegiance to a foreign nation, if you’re the citizen of a foreign country, that clause does not apply to you.”

Until the 1960s, that’s how the amendment was applied.

 If Trump follows through on the executive order, “the courts would have to weigh in in a way they haven’t,” Eastman said.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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