Photo: Washington Post Photo by Jabin Botsford
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump vows to sign an executive order to end US-born children's right to non-citizenship to US citizenship, a move most legal experts claim to be in the Constitution was withdrawn and rejected on Tuesday by the top republican of the house.
The action Trump had previewed on Tuesday would be the most aggressive response from a president committed to a tough stance on immigration, an issue he revived before the next week's midterm elections.
"We are the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby has been essentially a United States citizen for 85 years with all these benefits," Trump said in an interview with Axios Air as part of one new HBO series that launches this weekend. "It's ridiculous, it's ridiculous, and it has to end."
In fact, more than 30 countries, including Canada and Mexico, have similar policies.
Leading Democrats and Immigration Rights Activists have blown up Trump's promise on Tuesday. Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, also rejected the idea in a radio interview, saying that this does not correspond to the 14th amendment.
"Well, obviously you can not do that," Ryan said on WVLK in Kentucky. "You can not end your citizenship with an executive order."
Ryan also said that Republicans did not like it when President Barack Obama changed immigration policy through executive measures and that changing the constitution would be a lengthy process.
Other Republicans said that while birthrates for children with permanent residence are regulated by law, US Judiciary Committee chairperson Chuck Grassley, Iowa said, "a debate among legal scholars about whether this right extends to children of illegal immigrants". Grassley added that it was an issue where Congress should take the lead instead of the president.
Regardless of whether the intended move was legal or not, Trump seemed to welcome the controversy that triggered his comments. The White House sought to stimulate a debate on immigration in order to motivate Trump's electoral base for elections where Republicans want to lose the house.
In recent weeks, Trump has also repeatedly drawn attention to a caravan with a migration background approaching the US-Mexican border, blaming her for what he considers to be wrong with the US immigration system, and blaming the Democrats for their lack of action do.
Trump, who has long prescribed "anchor babies," has occasionally spent months looking for termination of his or her birthright and telling the counselors that many migrants make the dangerous transition to the United States only to allow their children to become citizens, a former White official said House who has discussed the matter with the President.
The president often instructs adjutants to make action commands – even if his authority is legally questionable. Former White House attorney Donald McGahn and former Chief of Staff Rob Porter often struggled with the president for orders and told them they would sue, White House advisors said.
In an interview with Axios, Trump said he is discussing with his legal advisor the cessation of firstborn citizenship and believes that this can be achieved through executive measures. "I've always been told you needed a constitutional amendment, do not guess what, you do not," said Trump.
When told that the argument is controversial, Trump said, "You can definitely do it with a convention, but now they say I can only do it with an executive order."
"It's in the process, it's going to be an executive order," he added, without offering a timeframe.
The president's lawyers and his top advisors asked if such a plan was legal, but he was vociferously supported by Trump's leading immigration adviser Stephen Miller, who frequently channels the impetus of the president.
Despite this, many White House officials-including Sarah Sanders, the spokeswoman-were stunned when Trump promised such an order in an interview with Axios on Monday night, according to current and former White House officials. The idea had not been actively tested in recent days, the officials said. On Tuesday, there was some discussion in the West Wing about whether there was a legal restriction to limit the birthright. However, most officials hope the subject will "just go away," a White House official said.
"It was not part of a big medium-term plan," the official said.
The leaders of the congress and those involved in the interludes had received no plan before Trump announced it, GOP aides said.
The President has told a number of his political advisers that he wants to put immigration back on the news.
People close to the White House office were surprised by Trump's comments about the alleged guidelines of their own operation, as their leadership is in transition and major immigration initiatives were not in the works, according to a person who has been informed of internal discussions.
The new White House lawyer, Pat Cipollone, still moves to his post, and McGahn has not been there for weeks. Emmet Flood, the provisional head of the lawyer's office, mainly focused on the special prosecutor's office, the person added.
The Department of Justice refused to comment on the legality of what Trump had promised and asked questions to the White House.
Trump's comments on Axios were cheered by some Republicans on Tuesday, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has long sought to end his birthright. "This policy is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end," Graham said, adding that he would introduce legislation to that end.
Others, including the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Called Trump's promised move to try to avert attention from the health care that Democrats wanted to seek as the main theme of the election.
"President Trump's new claim that he can unilaterally end the constitution guarantee guarantee shows that Republicans are desperately desperate to distract attention from their attacks on Medicare, Medicaid and people with pre-existing conditions," Pelosi said in a statement.
Omar Jadwat, director of ACLU's Immigrants Rights, said Trump is involved in a "transparent and apparently unconstitutional attempt to sow Division and the flames of anti-immigrant hate in the days before the Midterms fan ".
Trump's proposal was also imposed by Colorado MP Mike Coffman, one of the country's most threatened Republicans in the country. "I hate to relay the news to President Trump, but the Supreme Court will not allow it to paraphrase the immigration law by the Executive, nor should it," Coffman said Tuesday night.
An implementing regulation would certainly trigger a constitutional debate on the importance of the 14th amendment. It states that "All persons born or ordinated in the United States and subject to their jurisdiction are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside."
Lawyers have widely interpreted that anyone born in the US automatically becomes a native citizen.
However, it is unclear how the current Supreme Court would look at the matter, a point that Vice President Mike Pence emphasized on Monday morning in an interview with Politico.
"I think the president is looking at the executive," Pence said during the live streaming interview. "We want to be as inclusive as possible of American law, which can be used as an attraction for recruiting people into our country."
Pence dismissed critics who say Trump's rhetoric about immigration is an electoral trick. "It's not," he said, adding, "We have to recognize that we have a crisis on our southern border."
In an interview with Axios, Trump falsely claimed that the United States is the only country offering primary birthrate.
NumbersUSA, a group favoring reduced immigration, has compiled a list showing that 33 nations grant citizenship to anyone born within their borders.
The list includes Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and most other countries in Central and South America. The United States and Canada are the only two "developed" countries within the meaning of the International Monetary Fund, which have unrestricted civil rights laws.
Trump announced his planned executive as his government was ready to take some further steps to tackle immigration ahead of the midterm elections.
Homeland Security and Pentagon officials said Monday they would send 5,200 soldiers, military helicopters, and huge razor wire bobbins to the Mexican border in the coming days to focus on what Trump calls an "invasion" of Central American migrants.
Among the critics who criticized Trump's planned executive release for the promulgation of the primogeniture, was conservative commentator Bill Kristol, publisher of the Weekly Standard.
"The shrinking caravan of refugees is no threat to the country or the constitutional order," he wrote on Twitter. "A president who tries to end his first-born citizenship by order of the executive is."
A survey by the Pew Research Center, shortly after Trump launched his presidential candidacy in 2015, found that 60 percent wanted to change the constitution to ban citizens from illegally resident children. Thirty-seven percent were in favor of changing the constitution to end their "first-born citizenship."
Washington Post's Robert Barnes, Scott Clement, Seung Min Kim, Sean Sullivan, Erica Werner, and Matt Zapotosky all contributed to the report.
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Video: In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that citizenship belonged to all persons born on American soil. (The Washington Post)
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Video: In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled that the children of immigrants born in the United States had a right to citizenship – even if their parents were not themselves citizens. (The Washington Post)