ONE WEEK before the consequential midterm elections — amid the news cycle being dominated by criticisms against the massacre of 11 people in a synagogue Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; the sending of pipe bombs via mail to prominent Democrats critical of Trump, including news organization CNN by a Trump fanatic Filipino-Italian American; the deaths of two black men killed because of the color of their skin; and the threat of sending the military at the border to stop the asylum seekers from Central America hoping to save their families from violence and hunger in their countries — Trump is at it again, this time, reigniting the contentious issue of birthright citizenship.
In an interview with Axios on HBO, the president said, “that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.”
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.
When told that’s very much in dispute, Trump replied: “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
He continued, “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.” (More than 30 countries, mostly in the Western Hemisphere, provide birthright citizenship.)
“It’s in the process. It’ll happen … with an executive order.”
The truth and facts:
Trump CANNOT terminate birthright citizenship using an executive order as this is stipulated and protected by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” (Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution )
The Fourteenth Amendment was adopted on July 5, 1868, and as history.com chronicled, “was one of three amendments passed during the Reconstruction era to abolish slavery and establish civil and legal rights for black Americans.”
This law has been challenged in court and upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 200 years. The only way to terminate it would be through Congress. However, despite efforts by the GOP to end birthright citizenship through bills filed in Congress, these never advanced even during the times when the House or Senate was under Republican control.
TRUE. There are those who abuse this system, even among our kababayans. “Sa States ka na manganak para U.S. citizen na and anak mo at puwede kang mapetisyon,” is an advise many Filipinos give to those who want to seek better opportunities for their families.
Valid argument to look into this abuse of the system by some, but Trump’s way to do it is unconstitutional. And now the president is pushing to knowingly subvert the Constitution of the United States by issuing an executive order.
CNN reported that Trump’s own party mate, House Speaker Paul Ryan, refuted in a radio interview the president’s claim that he can end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil.
“As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear,” Ryan said.
Critics ask, what is Trump up to in spewing more of these anti-immigrant statements just days ahead of the midterm elections? A desperate attempt to fire up his base to win, win, win, at the expense of dividing the country even more?
Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, had this to say:
“The president cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear. This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms.”
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos