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Fate of Birthright Citizenship is Uncertain Under Trump

Earlier this week, President Trump told an Axios reporter that he plans to terminate birthright citizenship through an executive order.

In the interview on Tuesday, President Trump said, "it was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't.” Trump’s bold statement is a reflection of his hard-lined stance towards immigration and the progress of the migrant caravan currently moving towards the United States from several Latin American countries.

 President Trump in interview with Axios on Tuesday. Credit:  Axios

President Trump in interview with Axios on Tuesday. Credit: Axios

Birthright citizenship refers to the right in which an individual has citizenship to a country regardless of their parent’s origin. The concept is embedded in section 1 of the 14th amendment, whereby “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.”

As expected, the executive order, if passed, will certainly see many legal battles. When asked about the potential challenges, Trump responded that he is in talks with his legal advisors and that the move to issue the executive order was “in the process.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) was also doubtful on the legality behind ending birthright citizenship through the executive decision. In an interview with the Kentucky radio station WVLK, Ryan said, “the 14th amendment is very clear… in that you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

 Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Credit:  Anna Moneymaker

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Credit: Anna Moneymaker

Shortly after the Speaker’s comments, Trump took to Twitter, tweeting, “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”

 President Trump refutes to Speaker Ryan’s statement on birthright citizenship. Credit:  Twitter

President Trump refutes to Speaker Ryan’s statement on birthright citizenship. Credit: Twitter

President’s Trump’s intentions are also making headway towards members on Capitol Hill. If Trump ultimately chooses to not issue the executive order but intends to continue with his agenda, he must go through Congress. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) said, "Congress would have to get involved ... it is something we'll be looking at.”

On Wednesday, Trump tweaked his narrative, telling reporters before embarking on a trip to Florida, “I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress.” He also added, “I’d rather do it through Congress if it is permanent.” Shall Trump change course from issuing an executive order, his proposal will likely have some support. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a longtime supporter of ending birthright citizenship, tweeted, “I plan to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order from President @realDonaldTrump.”