Trump pledges to end birthright citizenship for children of unauthorised immigrants

Former US President Donald Trump raises his fist while walking to a vehicle outside of Trump Tower in New York City on August 10, 2022. AFP/File

Former President Donald Trump has vowed to end birthright citizenship for children of immigrants in the United States who are in the country illegally. 

Trump announced his plan in a campaign video posted on Twitter, saying that he would issue an executive order instructing federal agencies to stop granting automatic citizenship to such children. This proposal contradicts the interpretation of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, regardless of their parents’ immigration status.

Birthright citizenship has been a longstanding principle in the United States, rooted in the aftermath of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. However, Trump seeks to redefine this interpretation by requiring that at least one parent be an American citizen or lawful permanent resident for their children to become automatic US citizens.

During his presidency, Trump also expressed intentions to limit birthright citizenship through executive order but never followed through. Legal experts have questioned the legality of such an action, as any attempt to change birthright citizenship would likely face significant legal challenges.

In addition to targeting birthright citizenship, Trump criticized President Joe Biden for the record numbers of migrants caught crossing the US border illegally. He claimed that birthright citizenship serves as a “magnet” for illegal immigration and cited other countries that restrict this right for non-citizens. Trump’s stance on immigration has consistently appealed to the right flank of the Republican Party, and he pursued hardline policies during his tenure, including efforts to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Trump’s promise to end birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants is seen as part of his broader crackdown on unauthorized immigration and asylum-seekers. If he were to win the 2024 presidential election and follow through on his plan, it is expected that legal challenges would be mounted against his executive order.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican candidate in 2024, has also made immigration a central issue in his campaign. DeSantis recently passed strict state immigration laws in Florida, positioning himself as a tough-on-immigration candidate. He has clashed with Trump over their respective immigration platforms, with DeSantis accusing Trump of supporting “amnesty” for unauthorized immigrants.

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