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Trump Pledges to End Birthright Citizenship on First Day in Office

Former President Trump is returning to his calls to remove birthright citizenship, with his 2024 White House campaign announcing Tuesday he would seek to end it via executive order on his first day in office.

Trump announced his plan on the 125th anniversary of United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the Supreme Court case that established the constitutional right to birthright citizenship.

The proposal echoes a longtime demand of immigration restrictionists and a measure Trump toyed with while in office, attracting criticism from both immigration advocates and legal experts.

Most experts agree that a president does not have authority to end birthright citizenship through an executive order, primarily because the practice is enshrined in the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to those “born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.”


According to the Trump campaign, the executive order “will explain the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment,” which it says is that the children of foreign nationals born in the United States are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States as defined in the Constitution.

During Trump’s term in office, a draft executive order to that effect was circulated, and the idea was revived shortly after Trump’s loss to President Biden in the 2020 election.

But Trump had floated ending birthright citizenship earlier in his presidency.

Trump in 2018 said in an Axios interview that he planned to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship, setting off a political firestorm.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said at the time.

While an executive order altering the interpretation of the 14th amendment would likely face legal challenges, its proponents sought to take the case to the courts, in hopes of getting a favorable Supreme Court outcome.

Supporters of the measure lauded the idea, betting on a judicial revocation of birthright citizenship.

“This will set up the court fight — the order will be enjoined, case will eventually reach SCOTUS, which then will finally have to rule on the meaning of ‘subject to the jurisdiction,’” wrote Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies {snip}