While at the same time being scornfully criticized by his GOP Presidential campaign rivals, Presidential hopeful and real estate mogul Donald Trump, (R), has come out for curtailing birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in the United States soon after their mothers cross the border, according to ABC News on Tuesday. All children born in the United States are guaranteed automatic United States citizenship under the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution 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.” This is despite the citizenship of either parent and despite the locality of the home in which the children will live after being born in the United States. Trump is hoping to change the Citizenship Clause so as to prohibit such children from being automatically extended United States citizenship by virtue of their birthright.
Trump’s proposal, which would require a Constitutional amendment, drew sharp criticism from GOP Presidential hopeful and Trump rival, Jeb Bush. Bush acknowledged that Trump is very dissatisfied with the way that some people may be abusing American birthright citizenship rights; however, Bush reminded CBS News that citizenship nevertheless is birthright guaranteed under the Constitution. Bush suggested that the problem be addressed and “fixed,” and that this is a much better option than taking away rights that are “constitutionally endowed.”
GOP rival Marco Rubio was critical of Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border of the United States and to seize all “remittance payments” to immigrants that emanated from “illegal wages.” Rubio said that he doubted that Trump would be able to get his proposals through Congress. Rubio also suggested that the United States find a way to deal with the 13 million or so illegal immigrants in the United States, especially considering that many of them have been in the United States for well over a decade.
GOP Presidential hopeful Chris Christie questioned Trump’s qualifications to make such decisions. Christie said that being successful in business does not necessarily qualify one to “make policy decisions” and that international diplomacy is totally different than business.
John Kasich, (R), called for finishing the wall, but not curtailing birthright citizenship. Kasich did advise that he had not yet reviewed Trump’s plan in its entirety.
The only GOP candidate who agreed with Trump on ending birthright citizenship was Scott Walker. Walker also has attacked organized labor and gone after the teachers’ unions in Wisconsin. Inclusivity has not been a rallying point for either Walker or Trump throughout this action-packed campaign to date. “Divide and conquer” politics may have short term benefits for predatory politicians; but the ramifications usually have a boomerang effect on those who practice such methods in the long run. Time will tell and in the meantime, America, the “nation of immigrants,” will be watching every step of the way.