President Trump said Tuesday he would try to end the Constitution’s guarantee of birthright citizenship with an executive order.
Trump told the online news site Axios that an executive order to attempt to change the law is “in the process” but provided no other details.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said in a video interview to be broadcast Sunday on HBO.
The 14th Amendment, adopted in the aftermath of the Civil War and intended to guarantee citizenship to former slaves, begins with this sentence:
“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.”
If the President issues an executive order, it almost certainly would draw a legal challenge. The American Civil Liberties Union said it would be “blatantly unconstitutional” to attempt to change the law by executive order.
“This is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms,” the ACLU said.
The suggestion of changing the Constitution with an executive order also drew harsh local criticism.
“Donald Trump ramped up his anti-immigrant rhetoric and disdain for rule of law,” said Rep. Scott Peters, whose district covers much of San Diego. “Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the Constitution.”
Trump has focused on immigration recent weeks, calling the caravan of several thousand Central American refugees that is nearly 1,000 miles away an “invasion” and ordering federal troops to the border.
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