Trump’s New Plan Enrages Democrats

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Former President Donald Trump threw a bone to the immigration hawks this week, promising to issue an executive order to revoke birthright citizenship when he returns to the White House.

The pledge drew complaints from immigration advocates, who quickly pointed out that Trump only toyed with making the change for four years, but it fueled fears of radical anti-immigration rhetoric.

David Leopold, legal counsel for the progressive immigration group America’s Voice, described Trump’s suggestion as “a nice talking point for white nationalists and extremists.”

Leopold also suggested that the Republican primary would be “about immigration” and “about the border.”

He added that the primary would also be about extreme and “dangerous, antisemitic, racist rhetoric.

Trump’s proposal raises concerns that GOP presidential candidates will compete on extreme immigration issues — and will be pressured to act if elected.

Birthright citizenship is guaranteed in the United States by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states that all persons born or “naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States are citizens.

Proponents of ending birthright citizenship argue that undocumented immigrants are not under the jurisdiction of the United States and, therefore, their children cannot receive citizenship because they were born here. Although the position is not new, Trump has given it new life, arguably as its most senior proponent.

However, Trump has had numerous opportunities to issue an executive order or otherwise formally challenge the prevailing interpretation of the 14th Amendment over the four years of his Presidency but has chosen not to.