Trump told "Axios on HBO" that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.
When told that's very much in dispute, Trump replied: "You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."
"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." (More than 30 countries, most in the Western Hemisphere, provide birthright citizenship.)
"It's in the process. It'll happen ... with an executive order."
"They're saying" again. He must mean the voices in his head.
And joining the chorus, first Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Ol' Dixie):
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that he will introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship after President Trump suggested he wanted to do so through an executive order.
"Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform — and at the same time — the elimination of birthright citizenship," Graham said in a string of tweets.
He added that he plans "to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order" from Trump. Congress is out of session until Nov. 13.
And of course, VP Mike Pence has to jump in:
But Vice President Pence said "we all cherish" the 14th Amendment but appeared to suggest that the administration had an opening if Trump issues an executive order.
"The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” Pence said at a Politico event on Tuesday.
Pence is, as usual, playiing word games. while he's correct that the Supreme Court has not ruled specifically on the issue of children born to residents who are not legally in the country, the Court ruled quite definitely on the issue of birthright citizenship in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), which doesn't really leave much wiggle room. (It's also interesting to note how much that decision made use of English Common Law and the Napoleonic Code,, for those who get all worked up about our courts even acknowledging foreign law.) The wording of the Amendment itself is quite plain, and the phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" is quite thoroughly explored in Wong Kim Ark.
In the final analysis, this is going nowhere, but, like most observers, I think it's pretty obvious that this is another of Trump's attempts to get the deplorables to the polls.
Update: Via Digby, this analysis by Ian Milhauser goes into more depth:
Donald Trump, in an interview with Axios, said that he plans to sign an executive order stripping many Americans of their citizenship. Though it is unclear how far Trump wants to go, or whether he would attempt to retroactively strip many existing citizens of their citizenship, Trump apparently wants to target the children of undocumented immigrants.
“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,” Trump falsely claimed. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
Trump’s plan is unconstitutional. It’s not even arguably constitutional. It is so obviously unconstitutional that it was rejected by a notoriously racist Supreme Court more than a century ago. The few scholars who think that Trump can actually do this are considered radicals even within conservative legal circles.
By the way, that bull-pucky about being the only country in the world with birthright citizenship is, as might be expected, just that: bull-pucky. There are at least 30 other countries who recognize that right.