A policy paper released by 2016 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump this weekend has reopened a question in the immigration debate that some of Trump’s fellow GOP candidates may want to avoid: Is it time to end birthright citizenship?
According to Trump, it is – and his plan promises to do so. “This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration,” Trump says in the policy paper. He cites a 2011 survey by the right-leaning Rasmussen polling organization, which found that 65 percent of likely U.S. voters do not support birthright citizenship, which is automatic citizenship for anyone born on U.S. soil. A 2010 CBS News poll found that 47 percent of Americans are in favor changing the law so the children of immigrants in the U.S. illegally cannot become citizens, whereas 49 percent say it should stay the same.
Birthright citizenship comes from the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified in 1868. It states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” It gave citizenship to former slaves and overruled the Supreme Court, which said in Dred Scott v. Sandford that slaves were not U.S. citizens.
Amending the constitution would require a vote of two thirds of both houses of Congress and then ratification by three fourths of the state legislatures so politically. The most applicable Supreme Court case on birthright citizenship came in 1898 when the court ruled that Wong Kim Ark became a U.S. citizen at birth even though his parents – who lived in the U.S. when he was born – were of Chinese descent. His parents resided in the U.S. legally.
I question the motive behind this policy paper, Mr. Trump states we must live according to our laws and constitution, but he wishes to do away with these laws and parts of our constitution. His policy memorandum is based upon information wildly different from information I have.
While I do not like what Mr. Trump has said, I believe that he wrong, and that his policies if enforced would do the United States much harm. I respect his freedom of speech to state his ideas and opinions. I am afraid of what the United States will become, if he strips the rights of U.S. citizens and builds a southern wall. All my adult life I have defended the United States, both in the military and as an attorney. I oppose Mr. Trumps proposed policies and vision for the United States because I believe that it will weaken the United States and cause our image to be that of what we have always held in contempt. The east German wall.