Things That Matter

The Trump Administration Is Threatening To Overturn The 14th Amendment By Ending Birthright Citizenship

While Donald Trump has made immigration one of the central policies of his presidency, on Wednesday he took it one further. The president told reporters he was “very seriously” considering issuing an executive order to make changes to birthright citizenship, which some argue is protected as a constitutional right. 

“We’re looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby–congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen,” Trump said on Wednesday outside the White House. “It’s frankly ridiculous.”

While the President did not elaborate on what he meant by the statement, many are questioning if this is even possible.   Several lawmakers and political pundits have already cast doubt on his ability to take such action calling the statement “ridiculous.” Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris lauded Trump’s comments on Twitter saying the President “should ‘seriously’ consider reading the Constitution.”

This isn’t the first time that the president has discussed the topic of ending birthright citizenship.

Credit: @emeraldrobinson / Twitter

The president originally brought up the subject of ending the rule that grants automatic citizenship to those born in the United States back during his 2016 presidential campaign. He argued that many migrants make the trip to the southern U.S. border with intentions to have a child shortly after to give them legal status. He brought up the issue again last year when he said he would sign an executive order to end the policy. 

In an interview with Axios last year, President Trump brought up the issue of birthright citizenship. He said the amendment had become a magnet for illegal immigration in the U.S. and has only encouraged more people to come here. 

“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,” President Trump told Axios at the time. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

At the time, Trump claimed the U.S.  is “the only country in the world” that allows birthright citizenship. That is a lie. Birthright citizenship is a recognized form of citizenship in 32 other nations, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela. 

So what legal standing or power does President Trump have to change birthright citizenship?

Credit: @davidfrench / Twitter

The right to citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. has been guaranteed in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution for more than 150 years. It 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.”

So what power does President Trump have, if any, of ending the amendment? Not much.

The president cannot amend the Constitution or sign an executive order trying to end or restrict the right to citizenship of an individual born in the U.S. If he did there would almost certainly be a bevy of challenges in court as a violation of the 14th Amendment. In order for birthright citizenship to be revoked in the U.S., the president would need Congress to support the change and vote to ratify the amendment, which are both unlikely to happen. 

While the number of female immigrants that come to the U.S every year to give birth in unclear, The Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that advocates for immigration laws, estimated that in 2012 about 36,000 foreign-born women gave birth in the U.S., then promptly left.

President Trump has made cracking down on immigration a major focus point for his re-election campaign. 

Credit: Unsplash

President Trump’s statement coincidentally came on the same day that his administration announced a proposal to detain migrant families indefinitely. This replaced the decades-old Flores Settlement Agreement that required children to be held no longer than 20 days under government detainment.

Last April, the Trump administration unveiled the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of thousands of migrant families. That would be later reversed after much blowback from both sides of the political aisle. Just last week, an announcement was made that a range of programs would disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the U.S. and make it harder to obtain a green card.

So, we will have to wait and see if Trump is willing to knowingly violate the Constitution in an attempt at reelection.

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Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

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Trump Ignores Constitution To Target Undocumented Residents In 2020 Census Once Again

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Despite losing his battle to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census (the case made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court), Trump’s attack on undocumented residents isn’t over yet. This time, the president is targeting states who have large undocumented communities by excluding them from Congressional reapportionment. In particular, Trump wants to exclude them from the numbers used to determine how many seats in Congress each state will have for the next 10 years.

It’s a blatant attempt to subvert the constitutional requirement that the census conduct “an actual enumeration” of the “whole number of free persons” in the U.S. There have been legislative and regulatory tweaks over the years to accommodate unusual situations — omitting, say, foreign diplomats and their families in the country at the time of the count — but there is nothing in the Constitution that says people must be citizens to be counted for purposes of reapportionment

Trump targets undocumented residents once again in a new executive order.

Trump issued an executive order that calls for an unprecedented change to the constitutionally mandated count of every person living in the country. His directive instructs the U.S. Census Bureau to not count undocumented immigrants for purposes of apportioning seats in the House of Representatives, targeting states like California, Texas and New York with large communities of residents who lack a legal immigration status.

If enacted, however, the policy could have a seismic political impact, as states can gain or lose seats in the House every 10 years after the census, depending on how their populations compare to others. The census data is also used to allocate federal resources to states and local communities, however, Trump’s order doesn’t target this funding.

Dale Ho, an ACLU attorney who fought against Trump’s proposed citizenship question, signaled that a new lawsuit could be in the works against Tuesday’s directive. 

“The Constitution requires that everyone in the U.S. be counted in the census. President Trump can’t pick and choose. He tried to add a citizenship question to the census and lost in the Supreme Court,” Ho said in statement. “His latest attempt to weaponize the census for an attack on immigrant communities will be found unconstitutional. We’ll see him in court, and win, again.”

Congress represents all people in their states – not just citizens.

The U.S. has long counted non-citizens, including undocumented residents, for the purpose of congressional apportionment. The Constitution says that each state must have at least one representative, and that the apportionment of others should be based on an enumeration of the population.

Therefore, Trump’s authority to exclude unauthorized immigrants is expected to face court challenges, as it appears to be a direct attack on the constitution and the 14th Amendment.

Until the 14th Amendment was ratified in the 1860s, enslaved African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person for congressional apportionment. American Indians “not taxed” were excluded until 1940.

The 14th Amendment also requires the enumeration of “the whole number of persons in each State.”

The new order comes after the Trump administration has repeatedly tried to change the 2020 Census.

Trump’s new order is part of an ongoing effort to exclude undocumented residents, and part of his campaign to fundamentally change how the government conducts its census every 10 years.

Late last year, the Trump administration proposed including a question on U.S. citizenship during the 2020 census. But its efforts do so, which it said were aimed at enforcing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, elicited a flurry of legal challenges that ended up at the Supreme Court, which blocked the administration from adding the question in time for the questionnaires to be printed.

During the litigation over the question, it was revealed that Thomas Hofeller, a now deceased conservative political operative, played a role in helping the administration craft the justification for the citizenship question addition, which he said in a 2015 study would allow officials to draw electoral maps advantageous to “Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”

Trump’s order could have a major impact on several states’ representation in Congress.

Several U.S. states have large undocumented residents populations and many of them regularly vote Democratic. This order, if enacted, would have a major effect on congressional representation and would shift political power away from reliably blue states to reliably red states.

Two of the states losing electoral votes — California and New York — are reliably Democratic. Two states gaining — Alabama and Ohio — usually vote Republican.

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Ivanka Trump Promoted Goya’s Canned Beans And The Memes Are Good For Your Heart

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Ivanka Trump Promoted Goya’s Canned Beans And The Memes Are Good For Your Heart

@fukaren1 / Twitter

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump’s favorite daughter Ivanka, who also acts as one of his senior presidential advisers, posted a photo of herself holding a can of Goya black beans. With a toothy smile, she held the can before a caption with the Goya brand’s slogan: “If it’s Goya, it has to be good. Si es Goya, tiene que ser bueno.”

It didn’t take long for users on Twitter to take reasonable issues with the image. After all, her promotion of Goya products is in direct violation of government ethics laws which states federal employees cannot use their position or title to “endorse any product, service or enterprise.” Still, as woeful as her promotion is of a product that supports her father’s administration at least the memes will give you a good laugh.

Check them out below!

Proof that even the Trump’s would promote hell in a handbasket.

And nothing is quite as hilarious as this meme promoting “sprout juice.”

Please, someone, give her a job at Price is Right and get her out of the White House

And this meme is just proof that the Trumps just drink weirdly.

But actually would love to see this added to the Nancy Drew series

And finally, this book because it sounds like a pretty great read.

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