President Donald Trump plans to abolish the right to citizenship for anyone born in the United States — guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution — with an executive order, he said in an interview excerpt released on Tuesday.
While Trump asserts that he can change the provision with such an order, that is far from certain: there is a set process for modifying the constitution, which does not include presidential decree.
His comments came shortly before a hotly-contested midterm election in which the president has sought to place the issue of immigration at the forefront.
“I was always told that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said in an interview with Axios. “Now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
The president’s opposition to the constitutional provision centres specifically on the fact that children born in the US to immigrant parents — whether they are in the country legally or not — are automatically citizens.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby and the person is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous and it has to end,” he said.
Trump said he had spoken to legal counsel about it and that the change is in the works.
“It’s in the process, it’ll happen — with an executive order.”