On Sunday, President Trump announced in an interview with Axios on HBO that he will soon pursue an executive order that would remove birthright citizenship for children born to noncitizens and undocumented immigrants in the United States. Widely speculated for weeks, Trump officially stated that an Act of Congress is not required for his proposal to take effect and that an executive order will suffice:
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. … You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
A bold and sudden statement, his remarks assuredly sent shudders down Democrat lawmakers’ spines.
For years, the Democratic Party has fiercely protected the practice of illegal immigration. Why? The party has high hopes — granting universal citizenship to illegal immigrants, and as a by-product the right to vote, would give Democrats an extremely advantageous electorate when the next election comes around. The party has already tested this approach in several left-leaning hubs, such as San Francisco, where non-citizens can legally vote in local elections.
Even more advantageous than the immigrants themselves, however, are their children. Colloquially known as “anchor babies.” children born to undocumented immigrants on United States soil entail birthright citizenship upon birth, allowing them to vote without any additional legislation. Moreover, once turning the age of 21, “anchor babies” may sponsor other family members for entry into the United States — a form of immigration known as chain migration.
In addition to Trump announcing his means of actually accomplishing his proposal, he mentioned something else interesting:
“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.”
Trump is largely right; Canada is the only other developed country that enables birthright citizenship for children born to noncitizens and undocumented immigrants, and it takes in nearly 700,000 fewer immigrants than America accepts each year. Countries like Australia and Ireland have had birthright citizenship outlawed for more than ten years. Even extremely affable open border nations such as Germany and France have had the practice abolished for years.
Despite regular legal criticism towards it in America, Democrats claim that birthright citizenship is perfectly constitutional. According to them, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the legal backing for the policy and will continue to do so indefinitely.
In just the slightest hypocrisy, the Democratic Party will cite the Constitution when it benefits their electoral stature but will ignore the first ten amendments when it goes against their political beliefs.
Section One of the Fourteenth Amendment, in question, provides the following:
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.
Rejected by most Democrats in the time of its ratification, the Fourteenth Amendment was written just after the Civil War, in which it guaranteed basic civil and legal rights for recently freed black slaves. A strong and just statute, the amendment nullified one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in American history, Dred Scott v. Sandford.
Now, however, the amendment takes on an entirely new meaning. Initially ensuring fundamental legal rights for freed black slaves, the amendment now serves as legal backing for children born to illegal immigrants. Enter America illegally and have a child, the Left says, and your child will attain incomparable benefits they won’t receive anywhere else.
Following Trump’s announcement, Democrats took center stage in lambasting him for his proposal. However, instead of resorting to ad hominem attacks like they usually do, the Democratic Party argued through a more academic avenue: that Trump’s plan to abolish birthright citizenship is antithetical to the Fourteenth Amendment.
When using the amendment to argue in favor of birthright citizenship, Democrats conveniently leave out perhaps the single most important phrase of the entire provision: “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” In other words, those who owe allegiance to foreign governments cannot become lawful citizens of the United States. The significance of the phrase cannot be understated.
But don’t just take my word. Take the words of the author of the amendment himself, Senator Jacob Howard:
“[The Amendment] will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.”
Under America’s current laws, any child born to anyone in the United States becomes a citizen upon birth. It doesn’t matter if the child is born to an ISIS couple or Russian oligarchs, the child is granted citizenship and all of the benefits from it.
It’s quite puzzling, actually. If the Fourteenth Amendment mandates that only those who owe allegiance to the United States can become citizens, why do we currently allow the offspring of illegal immigrants — individuals who owe allegiance to a foreign government — to instantly gain citizenship upon birth? Is the child miraculously expected to possess an enormously different allegiance than its parents upon its first breath?
The only way you can abjure all allegiances to foreign powers, according to the Constitution, is by becoming a legal citizen. Anyone who enters America illegally cannot become a citizen — at least currently — and ergo maintains a constant allegiance to a foreign entity. Isn’t it logical to assume, then, that the child of two illegal immigrants presumably isn’t holding an allegiance to the United States upon birth?
To Democrats, that train of thought is heresy.
If you take all the political nonsense away from this situation and discern it carefully, there’s one overruling truth that is nothing short of hypocrisy: the Democratic Party — and more broadly the Left — suddenly caring about the issue of constitutionality. The Left will praise the Constitution, the law, and any other foundational aspect of America when it garners them political power, but will despise and defy them when it goes against their political goals. America’s sworn right to protect and maintain its sovereignty hardly exists to them. Birthright citizenship for children born to illegal aliens, however, echoes loud and clear.
Daniel Schmidt is a 15-year-old political commentator and opinion writer. In his freshman year of high school, he founded The Young Pundit, with the goal of establishing a hard-hitting conservative commentary outlet featuring youthful, incisive, and unbought voices. To read more about Daniel, click here.