U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to deny citizenship to babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants who were born in the U.S.
Trump said in an interview with the cable television news program “Axios on HBO” that he plans to terminate, by executive order, the current U.S. policy allowing birthright citizenship. “It’s in the process. It’ll happen,” he said.
“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 added. “It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
The U.S. is not the only country granting birthright citizenship. Around 30 others do as well.
Terminating the U.S. policy would likely face legal challenges in court.
Trump said he discussed the idea with his counsel who he said informed him a constitutional amendment is not needed to end birthright citizenship.
Any legal challenges would require the courts to rule on a debate over the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which says, “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.”
Some conservatives, however, maintain the amendment was merely intended to provide citizenship to babies born in the U.S. to legal permanent residents.
Trump’s plans to end the policy further escalates his administration’s efforts to promote immigration as a major campaign issue before the November 6 midterm elections.
The last two weeks have seen Trump and his conservative allies spread warnings about a Central American migrant caravan that is hundreds of kilometers from the southern U.S. border.
On Monday, Trump described the migrant caravan as an “invasion on our country” as his administration announced plans to deploy at least 5,200 troops to the border by the end of this week.