The President did not elaborate on what he meant.
The 14th Amendment of the Constitution guarantees birthright citizenship and 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 ability of a president to end birthright citizenship has been extensively challenged by a range of lawmakers and legal scholars — including one of Trump’s own judicial nominees.
James Ho, a Trump appointee to the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals who is highly respected in conservative circles, wrote a paper in 2006 noting that such proposals concerning birthright citizenship raise serious constitutional questions due to the clear words in the 14th Amendment.
“That birthright is protected no less for children of undocumented persons than for descendants of Mayflower passengers,” Ho wrote in the paper published before he became a judge.
The case came after Wong Kim Ark, traveled to China for a temporary visit when he was 22 and was denied reentry. And other cases since then have built upon it.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.” In fact, more than 30 countries around the world have birthright citizenship
The comments were met with immediate pushback from lawmakers, including then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, who told a Kentucky radio station that “you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”
CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Betsy Klein contributed to this report.