Trump targets birthright citizenship ahead of midterm for support

US President Trump

US President Trump

Just a week ahead of U.S. midterm elections, President Donald Trump stated that he has been thinking of ending birthright citizenship with an executive order.


The move has been an effort to appeal to Trump’s constituents who list illegal immigration as a top concern, experts said, calling it unconstitutional.


Trump said on Tuesday he has discussed with White House council the possibility of bringing a halt to granting automatic citizenship to babies born in the United States to non-citizen parents and believes he can achieve this by enacting an executive order.


“Trump is attempting to please his base by denying birthright status to foreign babies born in the United States,” Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua.


“It is a way to sound tough on immigration without getting Congress to pass a bill,” West said.


“Trump plans to implement this idea through an executive order. That approach is not likely to be constitutional,” West said, adding that if found to be unconstitutional, it will have no impact.



Trump is unlikely to be able to pull this off via executive decree, “unless he can convince federal courts to go along, and there’s not a lot of reason to think they would,” Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua.


In the short term, such an executive order would be immediately challenged in court and likely enjoined, Galdieri said.


The appeals process would then take it to the Supreme Court where it would need five votes to survive.


“I am skeptical that Chief Justice Roberts would support the view that a president can redefine the meaning of the constitution via executive order, but it’s within the realm of possibility,” Galdieri said.


“Domestically, it would likely make the issue break along partisan fault lines,” Galdieri said.


“By suggesting he’s going to do so via executive order, Trump is trying to energise his base of supporters by dangling the prospect of achieving a policy goal,” Galdieri said.


Trump’s announcement, according to some experts, has been the most hardline move in recent memory of any president who aims to get tough on illegal immigration.

Recent weeks have seen the issue of immigration once again dominate political discussions, as Trump’s constituents still view illegal immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing matters.  -Xinhua

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