GOP lawmaker blasts Trump: 'Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution'

Rep. Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloEx-GOP lawmaker joins marijuana trade group Dems think they're beating Trump in emergency declaration battle Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign MORE (R-Fla.) on Tuesday slammed President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE over his stated intention to sign an executive order to stop the practice of birthright citizenship.

"Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no @realDonaldTrump you can’t end it by executive order," Curbelo tweeted. "What we really need is broad immigration reform that makes our country more secure and reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a nation of immigrants." 

Curbelo's statement came just hours after Trump made the comments regarding birthright citizenship in an interview with Axios.

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In the interview, the president, who has often lamented the country's immigration policies, said he planned to sign an order to end the right to citizenship for children born in the U.S. by noncitizens. 

"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said during the interview, which is set to air in full on Sunday on HBO. 

"You can definitely do it with an act of Congress," Trump added. "But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order." 

Trump's decision could lead to a legal debate with the Supreme Court over the 14th Amendment, which declares all persons "born or naturalized in the United States" are "citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Trump's remarks come as he continues to escalate his rhetoric regarding the U.S. immigration system. He recently referred to a band of thousands of migrants traveling north to the U.S. to flee violence in Central America as an "invasion." 

He also tweeted Monday that "Many Gang Members and some very bad people" are traveling in the caravan. He did not provide evidence to support his claim. 

The comment came the same day that the Pentagon announced it would send about 5,200 troops to the southern border.

Curbelo is running a tight race against Democratic challenger Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan elections forecaster, has rated the race a "toss-up."