US may end birthright citizenship

Central American migrants, part of a caravan headed for the US, forming a human chain on Monday to pull people from the river between Guatemala and Mexico before continuing on their trek to the US.
Central American migrants, part of a caravan headed for the US, forming a human chain on Monday to pull people from the river between Guatemala and Mexico before continuing on their trek to the US.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • President Donald Trump plans to push an executive order to end the right of citizenship to children born in the US to non-citizens and immigrants who are in the country illegally, he told news and information website Axios in an interview published yesterday.

The move would prompt a constitutional fight.

He has ratcheted up his hardline immigration stance one week before the Nov 6 congressional polls.

Seeking to end the so-called birthright citizenship outlined in the 14th Amendment would take direct aim at the Constitution and likely prompt immediate legal challenges and potential opposition in Congress.

Changing an amendment in the Constitution would require the support of two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate and the backing of three-fourths of state legislatures at a constitutional convention.

But Mr Trump said he has talked to his legal counsel and was advised that he could enact the change on his own, contrary to the view of many constitutional experts.

"It's in the process. It'll happen," he told Axios.

Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, yesterday said Mr Trump "was driving a false narrative on immigration" to stoke fear ahead of next week's vote.

On Monday, his administration moved to send over 5,200 troops to help secure the border with Mexico as a caravan of Central American migrants makes its way there. The caravan, moving mostly on foot, is not expected to arrive for several weeks and it is unclear how many would arrive at the border.

Mr Trump also said on Monday that his administration was planning to build tent cities for the thousands of Central American migrants. "We're not gonna build structures and spend all of these hundreds of millions of dollars. We're gonna have tents, they're gonna be very nice, and they're going to wait, and if they don't get asylum they get out," he told Fox News during an interview.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2018, with the headline 'US may end birthright citizenship'. Print Edition | Subscribe