President Donald Trump says he wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States.
The US president, who is taking an increasingly hard-line stance on immigration, said the “process” to end birthright citizenship by executive order is underway, and denied such a fundamental change would need the input of Congress.
Trump believes focusing on immigration will energize his supporters and help Republicans keep control of Congress.
Revoking birthright citizenship would spark a court fight over the president’s unilateral ability to change an amendment to the Constitution. The 14th Amendment guarantees that right for children born in the U.S.
“It was always told to me you need a constitutional amendment,” Mr Trump told Axios. “Guess what, you don’t.”
“You can definitely do it with an act of Congress, but now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” the president continued.
“Now how ridiculous, we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous, it’s ridiculous and it has to end.”
Trump says White House lawyers are reviewing his proposal but it’s unclear how quickly he’d act on an executive order.