- Carlos Barria/Reuters
- House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump’s plan to end birthright citizenship via an executive order.
- “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” Ryan said.
- Trump told Axios he planned to issue an executive order to end birthright citizenship, in which children born in the US are granted citizenship regardless of their parents’ status.
- Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, and legal experts say Trump does not have the authority to unilaterally end it.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday rejected President Donald Trump’s plan to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship, in which children born in the US are granted citizenship regardless of their parents’ status.
“Well you obviously cannot do that,” Ryan said in an interview with a Kentucky radio station. “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
“We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives we believe in the Constitution,” Ryan added. “As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process.”
Ryan said that he agreed with the president that “unchecked illegal immigration” must be addressed but that he believes it could be better achieved by securing the US-Mexico border and fixing immigration laws.
The House speaker’s comments echoed what many legal experts have said in response to Trump’s proposal, which he outlined in an interview with “Axios on HBO” published Tuesday.
Exclusive: Trump plans to sign an executive order terminating birthright citizenship, he said yesterday in an exclusive interview for "Axios on HBO." pic.twitter.com/D2RE4N4OrJ
— Axios (@axios) October 30, 2018
During the interview, Trump falsely said the US is 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 … with all of those benefits.” More than 30 countries have laws providing for birthright citizenship.
Trump also suggested he would not have to amend the Constitution to end birthright citizenship, which is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. But legal experts strongly dispute that.
“Trump has zero authority to amend the Constitution through executive fiat, and he certainly can’t do it with a tweet,” Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney in Buffalo, New York, told Business Insider on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, on Tuesday said he would introduce legislation similar to the executive order proposed by the president.
“I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship,” Graham tweeted.
Graham described birthright citizenship as a “policy” that “is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end.”