Trump and the Birthright Question: A Breakdown

birthrightOn October 30, 2018, Jonathan Swan, from the HBO show Axios, sat down to talk to President Trump in regards to immigration, more specifically birthright citizenship. President Trump’s comments, as expected, drew ire from pro-migrant groups and advocates, but did what he say overstep his Presidential Power? Can he do what he is claiming? Is the United States that only country that has birthright citizenship? I transcribed the controversial clip and will break it down as well as fact check and delve into the issue at hand, birthright immigration. This will be a multi-part series.




Transcription and Breakdown

Jonathan: On immigration, suddenly (unintelligible) if you can get rid of birthright citizenship without changing the Constitution?

President Trump: With an Executive Order

Jonathan: Exactly

President Trump: Right

Jonathan: Have you thought about that?

President Trump: Yes.

Jonathan: Tell me more

President Trump: It was always old to me that you needed a constitutional amendment.

A Constitutional Amendment is possible, but Trump would need a two-thirds majority vote, and even then, there would have to be a Constitutional Convention, meaning 75% of the state would have to ratify it in order for it to become an Amendment.

Jonathan: (something amendment)

President Trump: But Guess what? You don’t. (said in unison with host.)

Number one, number one you don’t need that. Number two,

Jonathan breaks in: I mean that’s in dispute (he interrupts Trump.) That’s very much in dispute.

Actually, Trump can write an Executive Order changing or clarifying the 14th and even making small changes, but he cannot rewrite it. Executive Orders have limited scope and must be written within the confines of the Constitution. They are NOT dictatorial decrees.

President Trump: Well, you can very much do it with an act of Congress, but now they’re saying I can do it with just an Executive Order.

Now, 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 eighty-five years with all of those benefits.

There are actually 30 other countries that have birthright citizenship, but they have restrictions on that kind of citizenship according to World Atlas.

It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous, and it has to end.

Jonathan: Um, have to talked about that with council?

President Trump: Yeah, I have.

Jonathan: Where in the process-

President Trump: It’s in the process. It’ll happen. With an Executive Order, that’s what you’re talking about, right?

Jonathan: Yeah, that’s exactly what-

President Trump: That’s a very interesting-I didn’t think anybody but knew that but me. I thought I was the only one. Jonathan, I’m impressed.

Jonathan: A good guess.


The 14th Amendment

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction there of, 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 any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Some would take this as a protection for children born in the United States, but in actuality, it was ratified to make slaves citizens on July 28, 1868. To this date, there has been no Supreme Court ruling as to whether this would cover children born to immigrants.

The next part of the series will go into more of the immigration issue, the origins of the term “Anchor baby”, and if a President ever overstepped their bounds constitutionally to offer protections to illegal immigrants. All source for the post are linked within the post.

Until next time,

Anissa “Maddy” Walker

Other Sources not linked:


Categories: Breakdowns

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