Trump Says He’ll End Birthright Citizenship, But Will He?

On Tuesday, Donald Trump pledged that if elected, he would promptly sign an executive order on his first day back in office that would effectively end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“As part of my plan to secure the border, on day one of my new term in office, I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law going forward, the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic U.S. citizenship,” Trump says in a nearly three-minute video released by his campaign.

“Joe Biden has launched an illegal foreign invasion of our country, allowing a record number of illegal aliens to storm across our borders,” Trump continues. “From all over the world, they came. Under Biden’s current policies, even though these millions of illegal border crossers have entered the country unlawfully, all of their future children will become automatic U.S. citizens. Can you imagine? They’ll be eligible for welfare, taxpayer-funded healthcare, the right to vote, chain migration, and countless other government benefits, many of which will also profit the illegal alien parents. This policy is a reward for breaking the laws of the United States and is obviously a magnet helping draw the flood of illegals across our borders. They come by the millions and millions and millions.”

Trump also noted that policies like birthright citizenship attract millions of people to the United States illegally. He argues that by ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, his policy would diminish the incentive for unlawful immigration, discourage further migration, and prompt those who entered under Biden’s administration to return to their home countries.

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Trump contends that the United States virtually stands alone in granting automatic citizenship to children born on its soil, regardless of their parents’ citizenship or legal status. He asserts that this interpretation of the law is based on a historical misconception and a deliberate misinterpretation by proponents of open borders.

“As has been laid out by many scholars, this policy is based on a historical myth and a willful misinterpretation of the law by the open borders advocates,” Trump argues.

“My order will also end the unfair practice known as ‘birth tourism’ where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the planet squat in hotels for their last few weeks of pregnancy to illegitimately and illegally obtain U.S. citizenship for the child, often to later exploit chain migration to jump the line and get green cards for themselves and their family members.”

This all sounds great. But Trump was talking about ending birthright citizenship during his very first presidential campaign and continued to do so while president. In fact, in 2018, Trump told Axios he planned to sign an executive order to end birthright citizenship.

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“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 said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

It’s true that his plans met resistance from some in the GOP, but an executive order would have prompted a legal challenge that would have likely been taken up by the Supreme Court. Even after the 2020 election, with the Supreme Court having a 6-3 conservative majority, the Trump administration was looking to take such executive action, but it didn’t happen. He clearly had multiple opportunities during his presidency to get the ball rolling and didn’t take them.

I want to believe Trump will follow through, but he should explain why he failed to do this during his first term. Illegal immigration was a huge part of his platform, and ending birthright citizenship should have been a top priority.

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