The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns the right of sovereign nations to determine who is a citizen and who is not. In order for the United States to remain a sovereign citizen, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution must be revisited and clarified as to its description of who qualifies to be a citizen of the United States. I have written about this subject numerous times because I believe that the amendment is being interpreted wrong. Now it seems that someone in a powerful position has the same belief. President Donald Trump is threatening to make an Executive Order on this topic.
Trump recently gave an exclusive interview for “Axios on HBO” about his “plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil.” Such an executive order would fulfill Trump’s campaign promise to target “anchor babies” and “chain migration.” Trump told Axios that he had always believed that a constitutional amendment would be needed to make this change but discovered that he could do it with an executive order – even though an Act of Congress would be more permanent.
Trump told Axios, “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. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end. It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order.”
Everyone should know that such an executive order would be challenged in the courts. Since such a process would take time, it might mean that the order would not be in force when the caravan hits the southern U.S. border. However, the challenges to such an order “would force the courts to decide on a constitutional debate over the 14th Amendment.”
Even though some people question Trump’s power to change birthright citizenship, there are others who say that the interpretation of the Amendment should be changed. According to “Axios on HBO,” “John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, says that “the Constitution has been misapplied over the past 40 or so years.” He says that “the line `subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ originally referred to people with full, political allegiance to the U.S. – green card holders and citizens.” Eastman also says that “the 14th Amendment was never applied to undocumented or temporary immigrants” before the 1960s.
The Axios article quotes Michael Anton, a former national security official in the Trump administration, as saying that Trump could use an “executive order to `specify to federal agencies that the children of noncitizens are not citizens’ simply because they were born on U.S. soil.” The article also points out that the “Supreme Court has already ruled that children born to immigrants who are legal permanent residents have citizenship.” However, no ruling has been made “on a case specifically involving undocumented immigrants or those with temporary legal status.” It sounds to me that it is way past time for such a case to be made!
In a post dated October 30, 2018, and titled “Trump Mulls Ending Birthright Citizenship via EO," Thomas Gallatin writes that Trump should have said, “No other developed nation continues to accept birthright citizenship. Canada ended the practice in 2009, leaving the U.S. as the last holdout.” Gallatin’s article also shows that Trump is not the only person in high places that believes a change should be made. He quotes Senator Lindsey Graham as saying, “Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship. Maybe Graham is not as bad of a Senator as I thought!
Since reading of Trump’s plan and Graham’s support for it, I have greater hope that I may see the wrong interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment corrected. I hope that the correction comes in time to protect Americans from the hordes of migrants who are currently traveling to the United States with the intent to overwhelm our border guards and immigration facilities.