This should be a strong anti-immigrant message. But his opponents reacted. “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.[…] We believe in the Constitution,”” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said during an interview. Prominent Republicans also sent early warnings that eliminating birthright citizenship would require an act of Congress, at the very least.
“I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me it would take a constitutional amendment to change that as opposed to an executive order,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee declared. This happens when a “caravan” of Central American migrants en route to the United States. “Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution,” tweeted Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican immigration reform advocate facing a tough reelection in Southern Florida. On the other part, the president claimed the authority to revoke citizenship rights for children born in the U.S. to people who are in the country illegally. And he vowed to do just that. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” he said. It was wrong, because more than 30 other countries recognize birthright citizenship. Laurence Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, said in an email that the president can no more eliminate birthright citizenship “than he could wipe out the First Amendment (or the Second, for that matter).”