Goodbye Anchor Babies? Trump Pledges to End Birthright Citizenship on Day One
19:09 GMT 30.05.2023 (Updated: 03:22 GMT 31.05.2023)
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship to most people born in the US, except American Samoans. The law has generated fierce debate over the perceived propensity of illegal aliens to enter the US to give birth, after which their so-called "anchor babies" can help them stay in the country.
Former US President and current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump has promised to end birthright citizenship from day one of a second term in office if he wins in 2024.
"Joe Biden has launched an illegal foreign invasion of our country, allowing a record number of illegal aliens to storm across our borders. From all over the world they came. Under Biden's current policies even though these millions of illegal border crossers have entered the country unlawfully, all of their future children will become automatic US citizens, can you imagine?" Trump said
in a campaign video released Tuesday.
Complaining that "automatic citizens" would become eligible for welfare, taxpayer-funded health care and the right to vote, and could engage in "chain migration," – i.e. enter the country to later invite their family members, Trump characterized birthright citizenship as a policy that serves as "a reward for breaking the laws of the United States."
"The United States is among the only countries in the world that says that even if neither parent is a citizen or even lawfully in the country, their future children are automatic citizens the moment their parents trespass onto our soil," he said.
Accusing "open border advocates" of deliberately misinterpreting the law of the land, Trump detailed his "plan to secure the border" would include measures to end birthright citizenship immediately.
"On day one of my new term in office I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law, going forward the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic US citizenship," Trump said.
"It's things like this that bring millions of people to our country, and they enter our country illegally. My policy will choke off a major incentive for continued illegal immigration, deter more migrants from coming, and encourage many of the aliens [US President] Joe Biden has unlawfully let into our country to go back to their home countries. They must go back. Nobody could afford this, nobody could do this, and even morally it’s so wrong," he said.
Trump also pledged to end the "unfair practice known as birth tourism," involving people traveling to the US to give birth and receive American citizenship for their children before going home.
Birthright citizenship was a pet issue for Trump during much of his presidency. He repeatedly threatened to target the law via executive order in 2018
, but did not move forward in the past, possibly due to the possibility that the Supreme Court would not support his reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.
The 1898 Supreme Court case of United States v. Wong Kim Ark established the current interpretation of automatic birthright citizenship into law.
American Samoa is the only US territory where the 14th Amendment does not apply
, with people born there having to go through the US naturalization process. Some of the territory's residents have sought to challenge this state of affairs in court, but others prefer that things stay as they are, considering themselves Samoans first and Americans second.