Northwest Missourian Opinion

If you are born on American soil, you are an American citizen. 

This simple statement has been true since the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868, but President Donald Trump said he is looking to overturn this 150-year-old constitutional law because of illegal immigration. Trump told reporters Aug. 21 that he and his team are seriously looking into the issue, according to Time Magazine.

Trump would like to eliminate the chances of an “anchor baby” allowing undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States. Anchor babies are children that have non-United States citizen parents that are born in the country, or in this case, the U.S., and are automatically made citizens in the U.S.. 

This idea to abolish birthright citizenship is not a new idea for Trump and his administration. Trump said at a rally in Columbia, Missouri, Nov. 1, 2018 he wanted to end birthright citizenship with enough support.

 “Hundreds of thousands of children born to illegal immigrants are made automatic citizens every year because of this crazy, lunatic policy that we can end,” Trump said.

This is not a “policy”— it is a federal law. 

The Fourteenth Amendment clearly establishes birthright citizenship.

Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment 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.”

The only way to change this rule would be to add an amendment to the Constitution that cancels out the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

Adding an amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The proposed amendment would then need ratification by two-thirds of all the state legislatures or conventions, depending on the specific states’ constitution.

In the history of the US there have only ever been 27 amendments and 10 of those were passed at the same time.

Getting an amendment ratified is very difficult and nearly impossible with the lack of support Trump will have on this bill.

Trump knows he doesn’t have the support for an amendment, and he doesn’t care. The revoking of birthright citizenship is the latest in a long line of, “If I want it done, I will do it,” promises from Trump that include the wall across the border and now ordering U.S. companies to stop doing business with China over Twitter, as stated in one of his tweets.

Flexing his Twitter game and riling up his base is all these remarks do, and it works. 

Mexico was never going to pay for a wall, and Trump used that “plan” to help him secure a presidential election. 

Trump knows where his bread is buttered, making large promises to fix a “massive” issue and letting his base eat up the fact that he is the “only one” that cares about protecting America.  

Trump sees himself as a savior for America, and this plan to end a fundamental constitutional law that has been in effect since reconstruction is only one of the many actions to illustrate that fact.

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