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Immigration

Trump Claims He Is ‘Seriously’ Considering Ending Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Immigrants

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., August 21, 2019. (Tasos Katopodis/Reuters)

President Trump said Wednesday that he is “seriously” considering issuing an executive order to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump argued that it is “frankly ridiculous” that the U.S. affords citizenship to babies born to immigrants who entered the country illegally.

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — you walk over the border and have a baby,” Trump told reporters. “Congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. We’re looking at it very, very seriously. I don’t know how you found that out, but that’s very good. We are looking at birthright citizenship very seriously.”

Wednesday’s comments represent the second instance in which Trump has publicly criticized birthright citizenship, particularly as it relates to the children of recent illegal immigrants, whom Trump has described as “anchor babies” on numerous occasions.

Trump told Axios in October 2018 that he planned to issue an executive order curtailing birthright citizenship, but never followed through. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States . . . with all of those benefits,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Any attempt to restrict birthright citizenship through an executive order would likely face stiff legal challenges and might ultimately require a constitutional amendment — a point Trump disputed during the Axios interview.

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