President Donald Trump is preparing to take executive action against a controversial domestic policy commonly referred to as “birthright citizenship,” according to multiple news outlets.
The policy, which stems from a reading of the 14th Amendment, considers any child born on American soil automatically a U.S. citizen. This reading of that amendment has been incredibly divisive in the immigration debate.
The executive action comes a week away from the midterm elections.
Scholars are typically divided on the intent of the wording in 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The common interpretation is that this includes the children of those who are not citizens, whether here legally or illegally. Conservatives who favor tighter controls over immigration into the United States argue that the policy is abused when immigrants come into the country illegally and have their children here. Children born in this practice are commonly referred to as “anchor babies” under the theory that their parents had them on American soil in order to remain in the country.
It is unclear if the President will sign this action before or after the midterms, but it appears as though this is meant to ramp up his base ahead of the midterms. This action could be coupled with the President’s dispatching of troops to the border to stop a caravan of illegal immigrants from coming into the country.