By: Jordan Carney – thehill.com – October 30, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said that he will introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship after President Trump suggested he wanted to do so through an executive order.
“Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform — and at the same time — the elimination of birthright citizenship,” Graham said in a string of tweets.
He added that he plans “to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order” from Trump. Congress is out of session until Nov. 13.
If Graham is going to propose legislation to amend the Constitution, his bill would need to win over not only two-thirds majorities in Congress, but also be ratified by three-quarters of the states.
His announcement comes hours after Trump said in an interview released Tuesday that he will sign an executive order intended to end the practice of birthright citizenship.
“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said during an interview with Axios.
“You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order,” the president added, before stating, incorrectly: “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 … with all of those benefits.”
Most countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Mexico and Canada, have some form of birthright citizenship.
The move would spark an uphill court battle and pave the way for a showdown at the Supreme Court over the 14th Amendment, which states that all persons “born or naturalized in the United States” are “citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Democrats and progressive groups immediately panned Trump’s comments as a distraction with a week to go until the midterm elections. The president has increasingly leaned into hard-line immigration rhetoric as he tries to fire up his base to vote next week.
“This is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms. The 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear. You can’t erase the Constitution with an executive order,” the American Civil Liberties Union said in a tweet.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) added that voters shouldn’t “take the bait.”
“He’ll say anything before the election. Don’t take the bait. Focus on ending the hate. Hug a kid. Be nice to someone you don’t know or agree with. And vote. Please vote,” Klobuchar added.
But Vice President Pence said “we all cherish” the 14th Amendment but appeared to suggest that the administration had an opening if Trump issues an executive order.
“The Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” Pence said at a Politico event on Tuesday.
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