Washington, D.C.—People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement in response to news reports that President Trump is seeking to end birthright citizenship via executive order and that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will attempt to do so via legislation.
“Someone should get President Trump and Lindsey Graham new pocket constitutions. The 14th Amendment makes it crystal clear: ‘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.’ Trump’s disgust for restraints on his impulses notwithstanding, he does not have the power to override the amendment’s citizenship clause through an executive order, nor can Congress end birthright citizenship through simple legislation. Nothing short of a constitutional amendment can do so.
“This is just one more in a steady stream of Trump attacks on Latinos and immigrants designed to use racist fear-mongering to head off a disaster for his party at the polls—no matter the cost. This is the lowest, most dangerous form of politics, and it will escalate tensions between Americans at a time when any responsible leader would be seeking to lower them. Graham’s opportunistic jump onto Trump’s racist bandwagon is just the latest ill-advised stunt following his theatrics during the Kavanaugh hearings.
“The fact is, Trump is doing every inflammatory, divisive thing he can to change the subject on the campaign trail, and that’s because his candidates are getting hammered due to their repeated attempts to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This attempt to change the subject will fail.”
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org.