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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/30/18

Birthright Citizenship Is in the Constitution

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John Nichols
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From The Nation

If Trump abuses his powers in order to undermine the 14th Amendment, that's a lawless and wholly impeachable offense.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
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On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump swore an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Yet, this week, as part of his ongoing campaign to divide and conquer the country he is supposed to serve, the president is claiming that he has the power to override the Constitution with an executive order.

In a blatant attempt to ratchet up anti-immigrant sentiment prior to the November 6 election, Trump is saying that he could unilaterally end birthright citizenship -- the historic commitment that a child born within the United States, and subject to its jurisdiction, is automatically and unquestionably a US citizen.

Ranting in his newly proclaimed "nationalist" mode, the president announced 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...with all of those benefits. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."

The president is wrong. Many countries provide for birthright citizenship, and the United States, a nation of immigrants, has a very long history of embracing this humane and practical protection.

The president is even more wrong when he asserts, as he has in an interview with Axios that, "It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't."

Challenged on his claim, Trump said, "You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order.

What the president proposes is a stunning abuse of power.

The Citizenship Clause outlined in the first sentence of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States declares that "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. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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