President Trump is making a blunder with his vow to end birthright citizenship. He’d compound the error were he to try to snuff out this constitutional beacon with a mere executive order.I say that not out of hostility to the president. On the contrary, I endorsed him (and voted for him) and agree with most of his major policies, including enforcing our immigration laws.
Yet it’s hard to see the logic of curbing legal citizens, which is what ending birthright citizenship would be doing. Our long-term economic problem could yet be lack of enough people.Trump’s vow to end birthright citizenship — and to do so by executive order — was made in an interview with the online publication Axios. It is due to be broadcast on Sunday.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States . . . with all of those benefits,” an Axio squib quoted Trump as saying. “It’s ridiculous,” Trump said, “and it has to end.”
Actually, the Harvard Human Rights Journal reckons that there are at least 30 countries with automatic birthright citizenship. Even were we the only one, the 14th Amendment wouldn’t be ridiculous.
It is a response to the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision. That was the pre-Civil War ruling that a black person whose ancestors were brought here in bondage could never be a citizen.
After the war, America ratified the 14th Amendment. It said that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” and subject to its jurisdiction are citizens of the US and of the state where they reside.