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Paul Ryan rejects Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship – Trump responds in tweet

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin speaking at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
October 31, 2018

House Speaker Paul Ryan has rejected President Donald Trump’s plan of ending birthright citizenship via executive order, and Trump on Wednesday responded to Ryan on Twitter.

Ryan said the 14th Amendment, which provides birthright citizenship, should be interpreted as written, and cannot be eliminated with an executive order, The Hill reported Tuesday.

“You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” Ryan said in a radio interview Tuesday. “We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution.”

President Trump revealed this week that his administration is “in the process” of drafting an executive order to end birthright citizenship as provided by the 14th Amendment.

Trump on Wednesday tweeted about Ryan rejecting the proposal, saying “Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about! Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”

“It was always told to me that you needed a Constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said during an exclusive interview with Axios earlier this week. “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. Now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

“I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process,” Ryan said this week. “I believe in interpreting the Constitution as it’s written, and that means you can’t do something like this via executive order.”

“I think the smarter, faster solution here is to crack down on illegal immigration and obliviously support doing that,” he continued. “But I’m a believer in the Constitution, I believe in interpreting the Constitution as written, and that means you can’t do something like this via executive order.”

The 14th Amendment specifies, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

However, the phrase “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” is meant to apply to those with full allegiance to the U.S., not immigrants, according to opponents.

Former Republican Sen. Jacob Howard, who authored the citizenship clause in the 14th Amendment, spoke before the Senate in 1866 to clarify the intent of the language.

“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons,” Howard said, as cited by Forbes.

Yet three decades later, the Supreme Court case of “United States vs. Wong Kim Ark” was the first to declare that a U.S.-born child of non-citizen parents was guaranteed the right to citizenship under the 14th Amendment. The court determined that because the parents had established permanent residency in the U.S., the child was entitled to be a U.S. citizen.

The 14th Amendment wasn’t widely applied to undocumented immigrants until the 1960s. It was then that the number of children born in the U.S. to immigrants skyrocketed as the children began to obtain citizenship – bringing rise to the term “anchor babies” used by critics of the process.

In 2016, the largest number of these births took place, granting birthright citizenship to 370,000 children, according to Pew Research.

Like Ryan, supporters of birthright citizenship contend that the 14th Amendment should be interpreted at face value to continue providing citizenship to all U.S.-born children, and only an act of Congress could change the process.

On Wednesday, President Trump tweeted, “So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ Many legal scholars agree…..”

“….Harry Reid was right in 1993, before he and the Democrats went insane and started with the Open Borders (which brings massive Crime) ‘stuff.’ Don’t forget the nasty term Anchor Babies. I will keep our Country safe. This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!” he added.

President Trump was referring to a speech by then-Sen. Harry Reid in 1993, during which he said, “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that.”

It’s not yet clear what legal basis Trump intends to use in his executive order plan.