Trump has announced that he will sign an executive order banning the questionable practice of granting birthright citizenship in the United States. This is the same guideline abused by immigrant parents who enter the United States for the sole purposes of giving birth. Many then claim asylum or attempt to become citizens based solely on the fact that they have a child who is a citizen.
• Until now, most such requests were granted based on the fact that separating parents from their children was unacceptable. While this may be true, the answer can’t be to just grant the parents citizenship. That’s a recipe for abuse.
• By banning birthright citizenship, Trump would effectively make it so that children born to non-citizens on U.S. soil remain solely citizen of their own country, and not the United States.
• Why does this matter? For one thing, it effectively puts an end to systematic abuse of the immigration system. Parents from poorer countries wouldn’t be able to “visit” the U.S. to have a baby for the sole reason of gaining access to citizenship when they would otherwise be denied.
• If rolled back, simply having a baby would not grant you special access to citizenship. Instead, both parents and child(ren) would be required to go through the same legal application process as anyone else.
• Birthright citizenship is not new, nor is it unique to the United States. In fact, most first-world countries (including Canada and the UK) have birthright citizenship guidelines in place. However, the U.S. is currently the only country out of the three to be facing an intense influx of migrants from the south.
• Speaking to Axios, Trump shared his thoughts on the system plainly. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he said. “I didn’t think anybody knew that but me. I thought I was the only one.” However, he did not make it clear exactly when he would enact such a guideline or how soon.
In truth, the 14th Amendment already leaves room for interpretation. Its current use is sometimes argued because of the wording, much like the Second Amendment. Article 14, Section 1 reads, in part, “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 current interpretation of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” prevents issues like visiting diplomats having their children declared citizens, but could also be interpreted to mean immigrants who are still citizens of another country.