Visiting Professor Corey Brettschneider wrote an op-ed for The Guardian about President Trump’s statement that he can end birthright citizenship, a key part of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, through an executive order.
In an interview that will air in full on Sunday, Donald Trump reveals that he wants to end birthright citizenship through executive order. But he doesn’t have that power. An executive order cannot reverse the guarantee of citizenship to anyone born in the United States that is enshrined in the constitution.
Trump’s proposal reveals that he does not understand our constitution, or the deeper values behind it.
You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to understand the amendment. If you are born in the US, you’re a citizen. It’s that simple. No amount of wordplay and obscure legal interpretation can change that.
What Trump is really doing is seeking to capitalize politically on fear of immigrants. He is seeking to divide people based on where they come from. In the process, he undermines the values that define the 14th amendment: a commitment to equality at birth and a rejection of aristocracy.