Things That Matter

Trump Administration Plans To End Birthright Citizenship And They Say A Constitutional Amendment Isn’t Necessary

The acting United States Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli told the Christian Science Monitor, at a breakfast they hosted, that he believes a constitutional amendment isn’t required to end birthright citizenship. When Newsweek tried to corroborate this claim with constitutional law experts, they disagreed. 

“Yes, it would require a constitutional amendment, and almost everyone else working on this topic would agree,” Ian Bartrum, a law professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas told Newsweek.

However, threats to end birthright citizenship — as stated in the 14th amendment that anyone born in the U.S. is a citizen — should not be taken lightly. Amanda Frost, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, penned an op-ed for the Atlantic which claims citizenship is in a fragile state due to an onslaught of the Trump Administration’s policies. 

Is an end of birthright citizenship coming? Ken Cuccinelli certainly hopes so.

“I do not think you need an amendment to the Constitution. I think the question is do you need congressional action or can the executive act on their own,” Cuccinelli told the Christian Science Monitor. 

Cuccinelli was echoing the hope of President Trump who stated in August that he was considering ending birthright citizenship “very seriously.” 

“Where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby,-congratulations, the baby is now a US citizen…It’s frankly ridiculous,” Trump said. 

As early as October 2018, Trump alleged he would use an executive order to end it, however then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan dismissed Trump’s claims as legally impossible because “the Fourteenth Amendment is pretty clear.” 

Why do we need a new constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship?

The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868 states clearly, “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.”Meaning anyone born in the U.S. (regardless of their parent’s status) or anyone who goes through the legal process of becoming naturalized is a citizen of the United States. Constitutional Amendments are the legal foundation of our government, changing them is not so easy. In order to repeal an old one, a new one is necessary. For example, the Twenty-First Amendment in 1933 was ratified to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited alcohol. 
To pass a new amendment would require three-fourths of states (34 states) to ratify the amendment and make it law. Thus, many have dismissed the idea that ending birthright citizenship would ever be possible — 34 states would never agree. This is why Cuccinelli’s statements have experts and advocates vexxed. 

Can we end birthright citizenship through congressional action like Cuccinelli says? 

One can only speculate if Cuccinelli is referring to the process of proposing an amendment that would require a two-thirds majority in Congress but this method would still necessitate ratification by 34 states and would still be an amendment. It is unclear what method of congressional action or executive action would result in ending birthright citizenship. 

The Daily Beast reported that in 2008, Cuccinelli urged congress to call a constitutional convention to amend the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “to clarify specifically that a person born to a parent who is a U. S. citizen is also a citizen of the United States,” in order to exclude children born to undocumented parents.

As Newsweek notes, “[Law professor] Bartrum mentioned that the 14th Amendment was created to overturn the Dred Scott case, which allowed states to deny citizenship to the descendants of former and freed slaves. He noted that overturning that amendment would be questionable.”

Nevertheless, birthright citizenship is still in a precarious position as threats mount against it.

In “The Fragility of American Citizenship,” Amanda Frost highlights that the Trump administration has chipped away at the premise that all you would need to prove that you’re a citizen is a birth or naturalization certificate. The Trump administration has created a denaturalization team dedicated to investigating 700,000 naturalized citizens. 

One man, Baljinder Singh, had his citizenship revoked under the Trump administration, despite being naturalized and living here for three decades because a government official spelled his first name incorrectly when he arrived in the United States as a teenager. Birthright citizens are being attacked too. 

“Take, for example, retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Enrique Martinez. His birth certificate stating he was born in Texas was good enough for the U.S. Marine Corps. Nonetheless, the State Department refused his application for a passport on the grounds that it was insufficient proof that he was a U.S. citizen,” Frost wrote. 

Frost believes these denials and denaturalizations are an, “attack on the citizenship of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities.”

President Trump Might Deny National Guard Benefits By Ending Deployment One Day Early

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President Trump Might Deny National Guard Benefits By Ending Deployment One Day Early

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One of the key elements of a response to a national crisis is the deployment of the National Guard. The servicemen and women have been working tirelessly since COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S. President Donald Trump, who touts his love of the military, delivered a saddening blow to the National Guard.

President Trump’s order deploying the National Guard to combat COVID-19 is set to expire on June 24.

Politico reported Tuesday that 40,000 National Guard virus workers will face a “hard stop” of services on June 24. The end comes after the guards spend 89 days working with the public to keep the nation safe during the deadly pandemic. Military families and advocates are not happy with the possible end to the mission of assisting states in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic after 89 days.

If troops are told to go home after 89 days, Pres. Trump will deprive them of deserved benefits.

Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, service members who serve 90 days of active duty are eligible for early retirement and educational benefits. The June 24 deadline means that the guards deployed in March will only spend 89 days on active duty. While the deadline looms and gets more attention, a National Guard spokesperson said that a decision on the deadline is yet to come.

Governors across the country are asking the Trump administration to extend the deadline to protect public health.

States like Texas are quickly reopening their economies and the result has been a noticeable increase in cases and the highest single-day death count for the state. States like New York and New Jersey are seeing their numbers fall after months of social distancing and self-isolation.

According to Politico, states are concerned that the Trump administration removing the troops from the states could lead to a second wave. Many of the state leaders are asking for the Trump administration to extend the deadline by months.

The National Guard is involved in the hard work of keeping communities safe and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The soldiers have been disinfecting and cleaning nursing homes, building and working field hospitals to manage influxes, and providing testing to people. National Guards service members are eligible for retirement at 60 with a full pension is they serve for 20 years. For every 90 days, they can move up retirement by three months and are eligible for 40 percent off tuition with the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

Critics argue that the Trump administration intentionally set the deadline for 89 days to prevent the soldiers to collect the benefits owed to them.

“It seemed kind of weird to me,” retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association, told Politico. “It’s a Wednesday. And it also coincides with 89 days of deployment for any soldiers who went on federal status at the beginning. I was getting all kind of calls about it and I said, ‘It’s probably just a coincidence.’ But in the back of my mind, I know better. They’re screwing the National Guard members out of the status they should have.”

READ: Tributes To Nurses Flood Social Media In Honor Of National Nurses Day

Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

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Trump Uses Coronavirus Pandemic To Announce He’s Suspending All Immigration To The U.S. And Here’s What You Need To Know

Win McNamee / Getty

Donald Trump ran on a campaign pledge to severely limit the rights of migrants and refugees attempting to reach the United States. In office, he wasted no time restricting authorized and unauthorized immigration, with travel bans for citizens of a number of Muslim-majority nations, cutting the numbers of refugees the U.S. accepts, and pushing ahead with plans to build a wall on the southern border.

Now amid a global health pandemic, the president is looking to scapegoat migrant and refugee communities by banning all applications for immigration to the U.S. The move is largely seen as symbolic, however, since the U.S. has already largely stopped processing immigration applications due to reduced capacity.

The White House on Monday announced that President Trump would be signing an executive order to temporarily ban all immigration to the U.S.

President Trump tweeted on Monday that he will pass an executive order to suspend immigration to the United States, claiming that he is seeking to protect jobs in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Democrats were quick to criticize it as a “dumb move” and pointed to testing as a safe way to reopen the economy. Not to mention that the U.S. is already home to the largest number of cases around the globe.

Trump tweeted: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

Obviously, since he made the major announcement over Twitter, there is very little clarity over what immigration programs might be impacted. And the White House still hasn’t offered any guidance on what Trump meant by the tweet.

Trump has taken credit for his restrictions on travel to the U.S. from China and hard-hit European countries, arguing it contributed to slowing the spread of the virus in the U.S. But he has yet to extend those restrictions to other nations now experiencing virus outbreaks.

Although the announcement has left many in shock, the U.S. was already severely limiting immigration due to the pandemic.

Already, much of the immigration flow into the country has been paused during the coronavirus pandemic, as the government has temporarily stopped processing all non-worker visas. And, the executive order in its current form will exempt seasonal foreign farm worker visas, one of the largest sources of immigration at the moment.

The administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and has paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures.

But given the usual chaotic roll out of Trump Administration directives, we still don’t know how long this suspension will last nor what will happen with the applicants already being processed.

Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told Reuters: “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

And it seems the fact that the U.S. already has the largest number of cases on Earth is completely lost on the president.

As of early April, the United States is now home to the largest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections on the planet. There are more than 800,000 cases confirmed by testing and more than 44,000 deaths associated with the virus. In fact, the U.S. now makes up for nearly a third of all Covid-19 infections and a quarter of all deaths.

If Trump wants to make an impact and help flatten the curve in the United States, he should stop promoting the anti-lockdown protests instead of scapegoating immigrant and refugee communities.

Democrats and migrant right’s groups quickly slammed the president’s proposal as xenophobic and counter-productive.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California, also a former 2020 presidential candidate, responded to Trump’s tweet as well, saying the move was “shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”

“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1,” she wrote. “His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, a Democrat who ran for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said in response, “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.” Now that’s a pretty legit clapback.