Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump offered a dramatic, if legally dubious, promise in a new interview to unilaterally end birthright citizenship, ratcheting up his hardline immigration rhetoric with a week to go before critical midterm elections.
Trump’s vow to end the right to citizenship for the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on US soil came in an interview with Axios released Tuesday. Such a step would be regarded as an affront to the US Constitution, which was amended 150 years ago to include the words: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.”
Trump did not say when he would sign the order, and some of his past promises to use executive action have gone unfulfilled. But whether the President follows through on his threat or not, the issue joins a string of actions intended to thrust the matter of immigration into the front of voters’ minds as they head to polls next week.
Trump cannot win on substantive issues like health care so he trots out bright shiny objects as fodder for the media. Here’s another one:
A day earlier, the President vowed in an interview on Fox News to construct tent cities to house migrants traveling through Mexico to the US southern border. His administration announced the deployment of 5,200 troops to protect the frontier as the “caravan” continues to advance – though it is still weeks, if not months, from reaching the US border. And the President has warned of an “invasion” of undocumented immigrants if the border isn’t sealed with a wall.
That’s the equivalent of two combat brigades. Really? The deployment will expire before the “caravan” gets anywhere near our southern border. See? Another bright shiny object.
“Unconstitutional.” Such are reactions to Trump’s threatened executive order
[From CNN:] Well, you obviously cannot do that. You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,“ House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Kentucky radio station. Ryan said it would involve a ”very, very lengthy" constitutional process to change the 14th Amendment, which was adopted in 1868 to protect citizenship rights for freed slaves.
[CNN:] The step would immediately be challenged in court.
[CNN:] The American Civil Liberties Union slammed Trump’s proposal Tuesday morning. “The President cannot erase the Constitution with an executive order, and the 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms.”
[CNN:] Asked about Trump’s promise on Tuesday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said the President has the “right to raise that debate” if he wants but “this notion that he can simply violate the Constitution by executive order, let’s face it, no serious legal scholar thinks that’s real.”
“This is simply an attempt for Donald Trump, who wants to do anything possible to bring back fears around immigration, to use that as a political tool in this last week before the election,” Warner said. “This is again, where a President’s words matter. The Constitution is quite clear that no one, including the President of the United States, is above the law.”
CNN is one of Trump’s targets via the pipe bomber.
Here are additional commentary quotes on what Trump thinks he can do (but the constitution says he can’t).
WASHINGTON — Donald J. Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order stripping the children of immigrant mothers of their citizenship, thus disqualifying himself from being President of the United States.
The constitutional crisis came to light moments after the signing ceremony, when a fourth grader visiting the Oval Office on a school tour pointed out the far-reaching legal ramifications of the order.
“Hey, wait, wasn’t your mother from Scotland?” the student, Tracy Klugian, asked. “That means you’re not a citizen and you can’t be President.”
Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to Trump and the author of the executive order, quickly grabbed the document from the Oval Office desk, panic spreading across his face as he reread it.
“Oh, my God,” Miller gasped. “What have I done?”
Trump immediately called Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh for help in voiding the executive order, but Kavanaugh was unable to take the call because he was “sleeping off a rough night,” an aide to the Justice said.
Asked to comment on Trump’s predicament, former President Barack Obama said, “I can’t imagine what it would be like not to be an American citizen. Of course, my mom was born here, so I’m good.”
The above additional commentary quotes are from the New Yorker satirist Andy Borowitz’s column titled Trump Strips Citizenship from Children of Immigrants, Thus Disqualifying Himself from Presidency.
Biographical note about Trump’s mother
Quoting from Wikipedia: Mary Anne Trump (née MacLeod, Scottish Gaelic: Màiri Anna NicLeòid; May 10, 1912 – August 7, 2000) was the mother of Donald Trump, the 45th and current President of the United States, and the wife of real estate developer Fred Trump. Born in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, she immigrated to the United States in 1930 and became a naturalized citizen in 1942. She raised five children with her husband and engaged in philanthropic activities in the New York area.