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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Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

Things That Matter

Pretty Damning: Trump Paid $750 in Federal Income Tax — He Even Wrote-Off That Sad Comb Over

BILL PUGLIANO / GETTY

After four long years, we finally know why Trump didn’t want to release his tax returns: abominably, he thought his terrible haircuts and adult age children were worthy of write-offs. Oh yeah… and the year he was elected he only paid $750.00.

Long before his 2016 presidential election bid, Trump dodged calls to reveal his tax returns. At the time of his bid, however, he refused to take part in a 40-year tradition carried out by presidential nominees to release tax returns to the public. During his initial run, Trump falsely claimed that he was unable to release his returns publicly while they were under audit, and throughout his presidency, he has avoided sharing them despite grand jury subpoenas. Fortunately, thanks to a piece published by The New York Times, they’re finally getting a chance to see the light of day.

The New York Times published the first of several reports examining Trump’s tax information.

In 2016, Trump became the first president since 1976 to not release his tax records. The decision promptly roused dismay and questions about whether the records carried “undisclosed conflicts of interest that may impair his ability to make impartial policy decisions.”

According to NYT’s latest exposé, Trump (a man who has long boasted about his wealth and has also claimed a net worth of billions of which he has also declared to be self-acquired) paid a mere total of $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.

While the Times report did not cover 2018 and 2019 tax filings, the newspaper looked into 18 years of Trump’s tax returns. They also looked into his business dealings as far back as 2000 and found that in 10 of those years, the president of the United States failed to pay any income taxes “largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.”

The Times also revealed that Trump “racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes” despite millions in income and property. In a statement for the piece, Alan Garten an attorney for the Trump Organization claimed to the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts, appear to be inaccurate.” NoteL the Times underlined that Garten appeared to be “conflating income taxes with other federal taxes.”

According to the article, beginning in 2010, Trump had been given a $72.9 million tax refund from the IRS.

The Times article explains in detail how Trump has managed to handle his business and categorize his wealth. The paper found that most often, Trump claimed his expenses as deductions from his tax bill chalking them up to business expenses. These include nearly $70,000 in hairstyling costs for his time on NBC’s “The Apprentice” over $300,000 for landscaping of the Mar-a-Lago Club and $95,000 written off for hair and makeup done for his daughter Ivanka. That’s right, the president wrote off his own adult children.

Addressing the report, the Times noted that they would not include the actual tax documents in its coverage to avoid outing its sources.

“We are publishing this report because we believe citizens should understand as much as possible about their leaders and representatives — their priorities, their experiences and also their finances,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in an editor’s note. “Every president since the mid-1970s has made his tax information public. The tradition ensures that an official with the power to shake markets and change policy does not seek to benefit financially from his actions.”

In response to the reports, Trump called the story “fake news” during a White House press conference on Sunday.

Speaking about the piece, Trump bemoaned that the IRS “does not treat me well.” “It’s totally fake news. Made-up, fake,” he continued. “We went through the same stories, people you could’ve asked me the same questions four years ago. I had to litigate this and talk about it. Totally fake news… Actually, I paid tax, and you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns — it’s under audit,” Trump went onto explain. “They’ve been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well. … They don’t treat me well; they treat me very badly. You have people in the IRS, they treat me very, very badly…But they’re under audit. And when they’re not, I would be proud to show you, but that’s just fake news.”

It’s important to note that even an audit could not prevent Trump from releasing his tax records to the public.

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Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

Things That Matter

Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

On Friday, previously undisclosed court documents revealed that almost 9,000 unaccompanied migrant children seeking refuge were denied access to the U.S. and subsequently expelled from U.S. soil. None of these children were given a chance in court.

According to reporting done by CBS News, U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have “suspended humanitarian protections” for most migrants crossing the border, on the grounds that “public health law overrides asylum, immigration and anti-trafficking safeguards” in the era of COVID-19.

CBS news made the shocking discovery when investigating the problematic and increased practice of holding and detaining minors in unregulated, privately contracted hotel rooms.

The government is arguing that the practice is keeping the American public safe from possibly COVID-19 exposure from unauthorized migrants.

“What we’re trying to do…is remove all individuals, regardless of whether they’re children — minors — or they’re adults,” Customs and Border Patrol official Mark Morgan said in an August media briefing.

He continued: “We’re trying to remove [the migrants] as fast as we can, to not put them in our congregate settings, to not put them into our system, to not have them remain in the United States for a long period of time, therefore increasing the exposure risk of everybody they come in contact with.”

via Getty Images

But critics are claiming that the Trump Administration is using COVID-19 as an excuse to unlawfully expel as many migrants as possible–regardless of their age.

On Friday, federal Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered the administration to put an end to the practice of detaining children in hotel rooms, saying that hotels do not “adequately account for the vulnerability of unaccompanied minors in detention”. She asked the government to put an end to the practice by September 15th.

It is in the court documents regarding the above case that 8,800 expelled migrant children number was revealed.

“The numbers are stunning,” said executive director of the Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Lindsay Toczylowski, to CBS News. “…To find out that our government has literally taken children who are seeking protection and sent them back to the very places they fled in such high numbers really took my breath away.”

via Getty Images

US Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz has defended the unsafe hotel detainment and speedy expulsion of migrant children, saying that stopping the practice would increase risk of exposure to health and customs officials alike.

But even if the practice comes to an end, the staggering number of unaccompanied migrant and refugee children left to their own devices is sitting heavy on the soul of advocates and activists.

“It’s just completely contrary, not only to all child protection norms and standards, but also just completely contrary to our values as a nation around protecting the most vulnerable,” said vice president for international programs at Kids in Need of Defense Lisa Frydman to CNN. “Because we are just wholesale shipping them out without making sure that it’s safe for them to go.”

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