Trump to end birthright citizenship in US

President Trump preparing executive order ending automatic citizenship to babies born on US soil if parents have no legal status.

David Rosenberg ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

President Donald Trump is planning to sign an executive order aimed at ending what is known as “birthright citizenship” in the United States, Axios reported on Tuesday.

In an interview with Axios set to be released Sunday, President Trump said that was planning to end birthright citizenship without a constitutional amendment, and is preparing an executive order to that effect.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said. “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

"It's in the process. It'll happen ... with an executive order."

Known as ‘jus soli’ (Right of Soil), birthright citizenship extends citizenship to any person born with a nation’s borders. Under jus soli systems, parents may have no rights, or limited rights, to transfer citizenship to their children if those children are born abroad.

By contrast, jus sanguinis (Right of Blood) systems transfer citizenship from parents to children automatically.

While most countries outside of the Western Hemisphere do not offer unqualified jus soli rights to citizenship – typically requiring that at least one parent be a citizen – the US automatically recognizes anyone born within their boundaries as natural born citizens.

In the United States, jus soli has been upon a clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, which was ratified in 1868, during Reconstruction.

Originally intended to enfranchise emancipated slaves and their children, the amendment’s so-called “Citizenship Clause” has been the basis of American jus soli citizenship.

“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,” the clause reads.

While some jurists have criticized the interpretation of the clause adopted by the Supreme Court, birthright citizenship has been recognized in practice by successive administrations of both parties.

Debate over the issue has been reignited in recent years, as critics of illegal immigration say the amendment has been misused to shield what some call “anchor babies” – that is, children born to illegal immigrants. As children born in the US to illegal immigrants are awarded citizenship automatically, their parents are able to ‘anchor’ their residency and avoid deportation, say critics.

An amendment intended to enfranchise former slaves, anti-illegal immigration activists say, has now been turned into a tool for aiding illegal immigration.

“Perhaps, if asked, the Supreme Court would discover a ‘constitutional’ right for illegal aliens to sneak into the country, drop a baby, and win citizenship for the kid and welfare benefits for the whole family,” Ann Coulter, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration and author of “Adios, America” wrote in 2015 regarding birthright citizenship.

“But it is a fact that the citizenship of illegal alien kids has never been argued, briefed or ruled on by the Supreme Court.”

President Trump justified his decision to suspend birthright citizenship, calling America’s current policy “ridiculous”.

"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," Trump continued. "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."

While it is unclear when the president will sign an order ending birthright citizenship, the matter will likely be challenged in the courts, and could well be lead to a Supreme Court case to settle the issue of birthright citizenship and the president’s ability to curtail it without Congress or a constitutional amendment.