On October 30, 2018, President Trump announced plans to end birthright citizenship in the United States. Several groups criticized this idea, but a Democrat brought the subject up years ago.
What it means
The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is the focal point of the birthright citizenship discussion. That amendment 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.” The President says he can end birthright citizenship by issuing an executive order, but his critics disagree.
Lawsuits in the wings
Legal experts contend that Trump cannot take such a step unless he has congressional approval. Furthermore, it would require modifying the Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union weighed in, indicating that their organization would file a lawsuit against the President if he moves to issue an executive order on the birthright citizenship matter.
Not the first
In 1993, Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat, approved ending birthright citizenship. The bill he proposed would no longer have permitted automatic citizenship for children born to parents in the U.S. illegally. In 2017, Republican Congressman Steve King proposed a similar bill, which would have included a change to the 14th Amendment. Senator Reid was in favor of amending the Immigration and Nationality Act. Both proposals died in their respective Judiciary Subcommittees.
While, at this early moment, it is not clear how much backing Trump will get for his stance on ending birthright citizenship, one supporter is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who says he intends to introduce legislation similar in nature to the proposed executive order.
Looking for help
One thing is clear: Immigration laws are in a constant state of flux, and those who immigrate to our country often find the laws difficult to keep up with, let alone understand, without legal assistance. It is important for everyone coming to America to know their rights, including those involving birthright citizenship.