The conservative Wall Street Journal's editorial board slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE’s proposed executive order to end birthright citizenship in a new op-ed.
“Mr. Trump has the political high ground as long as he is trying to stop lawlessness or deter migrant caravans mobilized by left-wing groups in Central America. Even deploying soldiers to the border in nonmilitary roles can be justified to assist immigration agents overwhelmed by asylum seekers. The U.S. has to send a signal that no one can bum-rush the border—not least to deter migrants from making a trip that will end in disappointment, or worse,” the board wrote.
“By contrast, the birth citizenship gambit puts Mr. Trump on the wrong side of immigration law and politics,” it added.
Trump first floated the executive order in an interview with Axios, which released a clip of the exchange Tuesday. Some of his staunchest allies Capitol Hill, such as Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' MORE (R-S.C.), soon joined in support. The president had previously focused on a group of thousands of Central American migrants making their way to the U.S., saying without evidence that some are "gang members."
Critics of the plan, including the Journal, say it would violate the 14th Amendment, which states: “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.”
Opponents of birthright citizenship claim that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof," means that only children of citizens should automatically get citizenship because their parents owe their allegiance to the U.S. while immigrant parents do not.
“The jurisdiction of U.S. law surely applies to all immigrants, or they could not be prosecuted for breaking even immigration laws. As for owing allegiance, do we really want to set a precedent that has the government defining which American residents owe allegiance to the U.S. and which don’t? What would that mean for American citizens who are also citizens of another country?” the Journal's editorial board asked in response.
The Journal argued that Trump’s executive order would get quickly overturned by the courts, and that the immigration debate was mishandled by not trading increased border security for legal status for the young immigrants protected by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, called Dreamers.
“Instead he wanted the political issue, and we’ll soon see how well that worked. The President still stands on firm legal and political ground when he fights sanctuary cities or the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But he undermines his legal standing, and his political credibility, when he pulls a stunt like single-handedly trying to rewrite the Fourteenth Amendment,” the editorial board wrote.
While the Supreme Court has never ruled explicitly if the children of specifically undocumented immigrants are covered under the 14th Amendment’s protections, it wrote in 1898, “the 14th Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens.”