On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump claimed he is “in the process” of preparing an executive order that would seek to end birthright citizenship for children of non-US citizens or undocumented immigrants born in the country.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment,” Trump told Axios for HBO in a clip that aired early Tuesday. “Guess what? You don’t.”
He then incorrectly claimed that the United States was the only country to offer birthright citizenship. In reality, at least 30 countries do.
“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,” Trump continued. “It’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous—and it has to end.”
The potential move would undoubtedly trigger a major legal battle over the 14th Amendment, which 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.” It comes as the latest anti-immigration pitch put forward by the Trump administration ahead of next week’s midterm elections.
In 2015, Trump, then the Republican front-runner, said that as president he would look into terminating birthright citizenship, which he bemoaned as the “biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” Amid those remarks, Sarnata Reynolds, a senior adviser on human rights at Refugees International, told Mother Jones that any changes to birthright citizenship could be disastrous for children of undocumented immigrants and potentially create a new generation of statelessness. “We could be talking about a situation that affects tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands,” Reynolds said.
“It would be a humanitarian crisis within the United States,” he added.