Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters as he leaves the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is moderating bipartisan negotiations on immigration, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. President Donald Trump has given Congress until March to come up with a plan to protect the nearly 700,000 young people who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Trump announced he was ending DACA last year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The big news today was President Trump’s declaration that he intended to end birthright citizenship by executive order. Can he do that? I don’t know but I didn’t think Obama could change immigration law by having his Homeland Security secretary issue a memo and that memo would be held by several courts to supersede black-letter law. So who knows?
One thing for certain, any executive order by a Republican president is a temporary affair and I’m not sure how slamming the brakes on anchor babies by presidential fiat is a good way of making policy in this arena.
Now South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has taken a stand:
Applauding Pres. Trump's proposed executive order, Sen. Lindsey Graham says he plans to introduce birthright citizenship legislation sometime after the elections. https://t.co/z8GTMZWbUS pic.twitter.com/zi8EZPMCca
— ABC News (@ABC) October 30, 2018
I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
This is interesting from a couple of aspects. First, Congress has plenary power for establishing rules for naturalization. It should do its freakin job and stop dumping all the heavy lifting onto executive branch agencies and allowing rule-making rather than lawmaking to be how we order our society. The second point is that Graham doesn’t mention anything about a Constitutional amendment. That’s because he’s a lawyer and he’s read the Fourteenth Amendment and knows that Section Five implies that Congress has the ability to make laws to carry out the intent of the amendment.
This could very well be a keystone to unf***ing our immigration nightmare. Without universal birthright citizenship, a more open arrangement with Mexico and Central America to allow for migrant workers would be feasible. An agreement could be reached on DREAMers without opening the door to amnesty. And a huge magnet attracting illegal immigrants–the lottery winning ticket of having a baby in America–would be inactivated.
Can it happen? Who knows? But what do we have to lose?