Trump's Plan to End Birthright Citizenship is Just Another Cynical Ploy for the Midterms
Donald Trump believes he can get out the xenophobe vote next Tuesday by dangling the possibility of doing away with the 14th Amendment's guarantee of birthright citizenship. Its a cynical ploy, but he rode anti-immigrant zeal to the White House, so who knows how it will play across the country. But, even Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan admits it would take a constitutional amendment to change the law.
Ryan, Politico: ..."As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process."...
There is no ambiguity regarding the meaning of the 14th Amendment's citizenship clause; excepting a few groups such as diplomats, if a mother gives birth on US soil, her child is a citizen. And that includes the children of the undocumented.
Birthright Citizenship and the Original Understanding of the 14th Amendment, [Judge] James C. Ho: "Accordingly, the text of the Citizenship Clause plainly guarantees birthright citizenship to the U.S.-born children of all persons subject to U.S. sovereign authority and laws. The clause thus covers the vast majority of lawful and unlawful aliens. Of course, the jurisdictional requirement of the Citizenship Clause must do something – and it does. It excludes those persons who, for some reason, are immune from, and thus not required to obey, U.S. law. Most notably, foreign diplomats and enemy soldiers – as agents of a foreign sovereign – are not subject to U.S. law, notwithstanding their presence within U.S. territory."
So why bring it up now, especially after last weeks pipe bombs and Saturday's attack in Pittsburgh?
Politico: "Rather than making a policy proposal that could be instituted, Democrats said Trump was trying to divide the country ahead of the midterms and change the subject from recent mass shootings and attempted mail bombings. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who is poised to become House Judiciary Committee chairman if Democrats win the House, called Trump's plans the "desperate act of a desperate man who is constantly seeking to divide and distract us."
"Trump’s action isn’t about what’s good or moral or legal or even effective. It’s just President Trump’s latest attempt to fuel anger in order to win votes," said Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.). "He knows xenophobia helps him win elections. But xenophobia also creates tension and increases the risk of violence."
President Trump knows that he is fighting for his political life so expect more proposals over the next 6 days aimed squarely at his nativist base, without even a passing thought to the divisions he will sow within the nation.