LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/CBS News) – Los Angeles County officials Tuesday said a pledge by President Donald Trump to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship was an “electoral stunt.”
Trump, seeking to limit immigration to the U.S., is set to challenge a 150-year-old constitutional standard that anyone born in America is an American citizen. Mr. Trump told “Axios on HBO” that he plans to sign an executive order to “remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S.-soil.”
“How ridiculous, we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” the president said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
Canada, Brazil and Mexico are among the many other countries that offer birthright citizenship.
Describing birthright citizenship as “a right that is clearly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution”, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said, “It is not something that Donald Trump could simply repeal through an executive order. No one, and certainly not the president of the United States, can defy the Constitution.”
The 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War, specifically says that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens.” The Supreme Court has upheld this rule for legal permanent residents, but has never decided a citizenship case involving an illegal immigrant or a short-term visitor to the U.S. Amending the Constitution would require supermajorities in House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Or a constitutional convention could be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the states. If that happened, the amendment would have to be approved by three-fourths of the states.
Solis said the president’s comment — which she said flies in the face of his oath to protect and defend the Constitution — was an effort to motivate his base of supporters in advance of next week’s midterm elections.
She urged Americans to vote next week to make their voices heard, reminding Los Angeles County residents that today is the last day to request a vote-by-mail ballot at lavote.net.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wire services contributed to this report.)