End Birthright Citizenship for Illegal Families

COMMENTARY Immigration

End Birthright Citizenship for Illegal Families

Aug 17th, 2020 1 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Mike Howell

Senior Advisor, Executive Branch Relations

Mike is a senior advisor for Executive Branch Relations at The Heritage Foundation.
President Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House, August 2019. Xinhua News Agency / Contributor / Getty Images

Key Takeaways

Birthright citizenship automatically grants U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. 

Legislative history makes no mention of illegal immigrants being subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. 

Trump’s 2016 campaign put out a policy paper saying that birthright citizenship “remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.”

For conservatives, one unfulfilled promise really stands out—ending birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants. President Donald Trump promised this during the 2016 campaign and on multiple occasions since then.          

Birthright citizenship automatically grants U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants. At least 5 million individuals in the USA have received birthright citizenship but should not have. This practice is due to a misapplication of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the interpretation of the language “subject to the jurisdiction.”

Legislative history makes no mention of illegal immigrants being subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Proponents of birthright citizenship often point to the 1898 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, but that case dealt with the children of lawful permanent residents, not illegal immigrants.

The president doesn’t need Congress to end this practice. He could issue an executive order instructing federal agencies to issue passports and other government documents and benefits only to those individuals whose status as U.S. citizens meets this requirement.

Trump’s 2016 campaign put out a policy paper saying that birthright citizenship “remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.” He was right then and would be right now to end it.

Read the full article: What’s the Big Idea? 4 Proposals to Reform America’s Immigration System

This piece originally appeared in USA Today