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The Article That Convinced Trump He Could Ditch Birthright Citizenship

President Trump’s view that he could overrule birthright citizenship was reportedly informed by an article written last July in the Washington Post by Michael Anton, a former Trump National Security Council official and current research fellow at Hillsdale College.

Anton notes that the principle of birthright citizenship is based on the 14th Amendment, which was written to ensure former slaves would be citizens of all states.

That definition is included in the amendment’s first sentence: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

People who claim the amendment applies to illegals say a “clear reading” of the amendment proves their children born here are citizens. The argument against this centers on the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” It would seem to me that a clear reading just of the text suggests that illegal aliens, and therefore their children and those they give birth to, are subject to the “jurisdiction” of another country.

Anton writes that the authors of the amendment clearly indicated it would not apply to people like tourists or illegal aliens:

The amendment specifies two criteria for American citizenship: birth or naturalization (i.e., lawful immigration), and being subject to U.S. jurisdiction. We know what the framers of the amendment meant by the latter because they told us. Sen. Lyman Trumbull of Illinois, a principal figure in drafting the amendment, defined “subject to the jurisdiction” as “not owing allegiance to anybody else” — that is, to no other country or tribe. Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, a sponsor of the clause, further clarified that the amendment explicitly excludes from citizenship “persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers.”

Yet for decades, U.S. officials — led by immigration enthusiasts in and out of government — have acted as though “subject to the jurisdiction” simply means “subject to American law.”

Officers in all three branches of government — the president no less than judges — take similar oaths to defend the Constitution. Why shouldn’t the president act to defend the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment?

I don’t know what would prevent a president from interpreting a portion of the Constitution. Congress has not, apparently, spoken on the matter of whether the children of illegal immigrants are citizens. His job is to enforce the law, and absent a specific congressional statute, the 14th Amendment is, effectively, the law.

But I’m no constitutional scholar. However, I do know something about Trump, and I feel I can be pretty certain he will move to ban birthright citizenship and let the courts, and ultimately, the Supreme Court, decide the matter.

And meantime, enjoy the uproar he provoked.

Trump tweeted on the matter this morning.

14 Responses to The Article That Convinced Trump He Could Ditch Birthright Citizenship

  1. The abuse of our laws on immigration and citizenship is going on every day by illegal aliens.
    They use the baby’s citizenship to ask for the rest of the family to come to the US legally, or use it to prevent the mother from being deported. There’s nothing to keep the mother of a child born in the USA from taking her child back to her homeland if she’s deported. She doesn’t have to leave the child here, abandoned, but that is the message the Dems like to use.

  2. Can we all count to 5?

    Trump can…. he waited until he had 5 justices that care able the constitution enough not to impose wise personal views… so soon enough this will go to the Supreme Court where you have Roberts (hopefully) and alito and Thomas and the two newbies….and then it is done…

    This is not tough… just took a real leader to stand up for us — not a globalist rhino piece of crap Bush or a Democrat … since 1989 — end of Reagan’s term we have not had a real republican and let’s face it Reagan as I remember did not always have a lot of support or in yo face attitude that mr Trump has…

  3. 14th Amendment NEVER granted automatic citizenship to foreigners born in the US because (no matter where they are) they are foreigners are “subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign country.”

    Supreme Court (in Elk v. Wilkins (1884)) confirmed the 14th Am doesn’t confer citizenship on Indians born in the US because they are subject to foreign jurisdiction.

    During debate of the 14th Am.:
    Senator Howard said the 14th “will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens. . . . Indians born [in] the United States and who maintain their tribal relations, are not . . . born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.”

    Senator Trumbull said, “‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ . . . means subject to the complete jurisdiction thereof. . . . Not owing allegiance to anybody else.”

    Democrats try to misinterpret “subject to the jurisdiction [of the US]” as merely subject to US law. However, being subject to US law (by presence or otherwise) is not what the 14th refers to. Even foreigners not present (e.g. Russian criminals in Moscow) are subject to US law.

  4. President Trump, and his advisors, are right again.
    Why should a woman, 8.5 months pregnant, be allowed to get a tourist visa, have her baby born in the states, and declared a citizen, when it was clear, what her intentions were? And then that baby be the anchor which allows twenty relatives to emigrate to this country, also. At the least the US should be making a fortune off these schemes, by charging the, often wealthy participants a fee. If these women are rewarded thusly, why do we not bestow citizenship on turtles, which crawl onto our beaches, lay their eggs, and have their babies born on our shores?

  5. According to the Civil Rights Act 1866 which defined citizenship in the same was as the Amendment which it preceded, any challenge under that law must be heard in the Supreme Court as the court of first jurisdiction. So, no pussyfooting around with the Ninth Circus.

  6. Conservatives are essentially free thinkers, but who believe in the rule of law as put forth in our Constitution and Amendments, and who reasonably support and follow the laws as written and interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

    Leftists also are free thinkers, but who do not feel confined by the intent and spirit of our Constitution and Amendments and seek as many loopholes as possible rather than succumb to the rule of law.

    This is the inherent conflict we face today:

    Rule of the Law versus Rule by the Mob

  7. The SCOTUS has already said that the children born in the U.S. to foreign invaders retain the citizenship of their invader parents and are NOT citizens of the U.S. under the 14th Amendment. This was part of the Wong Kim Ark v. U.S. the open borders crowd neglects to mention. This has been the law since 1898 when the SCOTUS handed down their decision. This portion of the decision did not apply to Wong, as his parents entered the U.S. legally with permission and inspection, but the open borders crowd pretends that lawful presence has no bearing on the citizenship of offspring.

  8. So nice to read logical thoughtful comments like the above, so very unlike the comments on liberal news outlets which are often disjointed, rambling, foul language laden diatribes. Nicely done!

  9. I am so grateful for the what Trump has accomplished in less that 2 years. He may be rude and crude now and then, but he is making excellent decisions for our country, (which I hope includes this one) and returning the rule of law, rather than then rage of the rabble, to our streets.