One week before the United States midterm elections, President Donald Trump took another hawkish line on immigration by appealing to his supporters in promising an executive order that would end birthright citizenship which grants anyone born on American soil a USA citizenship.
Activists seeking to limit immigration, including Michael Anton, who wrote an article on the subject for the Washington Post in July, argue that illegal immigrants are not under the jurisdiction of the United States and therefore their children born on USA soil should not be US citizens.
TRUMP: "It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment". But Ethan Corson, the Kansas Democratic Party's executive director said: "As Republicans like Paul Ryan and legal scholars from across the political spectrum have stated, the president obviously has no authority to alter the Constitution by executive order". "We will get rid of all of this".
The term refers to the automatic right to citizenship for children born in the USA, even to non-citizens.
He added that "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".
Trump and many top aides have long seen the immigration issue as the most effective rallying cry for his base of supporters.
"I believe that the president, actually, is attempting to raise a point that has never really been resolved by the Supreme Court".
Napolitano said the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to mean the same thing for 150 years.
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Trump did not back down Wednesday from his controversial proposal to upend the very concept of American citizenship.
Trump, as well as those who support abolishing birthright citizenship, believe that the line "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" means that only parents who are subject to US jurisdiction (a.k.a. citizens) will pass on birthright citizenship to their children. Former White House official Michael Anton argued in The Washington Post last July that the amendment is being misread.
Trump denied when asked by a reporter if he is merely stoking fears about undocumented migrants before a crucial election.
Even House Speaker Paul Ryan, typically a supporter of Trump proposals, said on WVLK radio in Kentucky: "Well you obviously can not do that".
And Peter J. Spiro, a law professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, told the Times, "The conventional understanding is absolutely clear that children born in the United States are citizens of the United States, with the insignificant exception of the children of diplomats".
Leaving the White House on Wednesday for a Florida rally, Mr Trump kept the focus on immigration, telling reporters the U.S. could send as many as 15,000 military troops to the border with Mexico.
Under the 14th Amendment to the USA constitution, citizenship is granted to "all persons born or naturalised in the United States".
He added that the phrase "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was added to the 14th Amendment to ensure that the child of anyone not subject to American jurisdiction isn't a legal citizen.
More broadly, Trump's view that USA -born children of foreigners live a lifetime of taking "all those benefits" ignores the taxes they pay, the work they do and their other contributions to society.