“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 for 85 years with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
That was what Donald Trump said in an interview with Axios that will be aired this weekend. Out of the gate, it is a lie, for a large number of countries have similar policies, including our closest neighbors, Canada and Mexico. Trump is vowing to sign an executive order that would seek to end the right to U.S. citizenship for children born in the United States to non-citizens. That right, by the way, is protected by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
WHY??? You tell me … is a newborn baby, weighing on average 7 pounds, a rapist, a terrorist, out to murder and pillage, out to take the jobs that most U.S. citizens don’t want anyway? Is he a threat to our lives or our economy? No. Trump speaks of that child born a U.S. citizen as if she will be naught but a drain on the nation’s resources for some 85 years, and yet … she will grow, she will learn, she may someday become the scientist that finds a cure for cancer, or who discovers a way to neutralize CO2 so that it no longer makes our planet uninhabitable. Or just think … he may grow up to be the brave soul who rescues 100 people from a burning high-rise or stops a gunman from killing 60 people in a mosque. He may be the teacher who teaches our children to be kinder, gentler people.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t.”
Guess what, Donnie – yes, you do.
He claims that after talking to his “legal counsel”, he believes he can achieve what he wants via executive order. Would that be Rudy Giuliani, or one of his other paid lackeys, none of whom are Constitutional Law scholars?
Trump’s use of the executive order has bordered on the unconstitutional a few times, but this would be a blatant abuse of his power and would not fare well in the courts. Even conservative-leaning justices on the Supreme Court, with the possible exception of Trump’s lackey Kavanaugh, would take umbrage with this blatant abuse of power.
Article V of the United States Constitution reads:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
In short, an amendment to the Constitution requires a 2/3 majority of both the House and the Senate … or … a Constitutional Convention whereby 3/4 of the state legislatures (38 states) approve the measure.
Think about this for a minute. If Trump could simply sign an executive order to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S., what else might he be able to do? Senator Tim Kaine said …
“The U.S. presidency is not a dictatorship. Patriotic Americans must rally to defeat the President’s unprecedented attempt to rewrite the Constitution on his own.”
He’s right. The presidency is not a dictatorship, but … if Trump is allowed to get away with this latest plan, it will surely be on the path to becoming one. What would be next? Well, let’s see … he has repeatedly vilified the press … so, might he sign an executive order stifling the freedom of the press? A mandate that every household must have at least one firearm? A law that calls for schools to be racially segregated? A decree that only white males can vote? Think about it …
With his vow to end birthright citizenship, guaranteed under Amendment XIV, Trump is once again confirming his intention to stall or roll back the country’s evolving racial and ethnic mix. His base applauds, for they are 99% white Christians who see their whiteness becoming blended, who see themselves one day being in the minority and fearing that they will be on the receiving end of the treatment they and their ancestors have given to minorities for centuries.
Greg Sargent, writing for The Washington Post, summed it up nicely …
“Trump is moving to deny citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants, an obvious bid to further feed this climate of xenophobia and hate. This is the only play Trump and Republicans have left, now that their ideas on taxes and health care have been soundly rejected by voters. And, of course, the end goal of fomenting all this hysteria is to hold Congress, precisely in order to further their regressive, deeply unpopular agenda on both those fronts — and, naturally, to protect Trump from the accountability a Democratic Congress would bring.”
No, he cannot do that … unless we let him …