The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Americans’ Rights Can’t Be Undone

The+Preamble+of+the+Constitution+on+display+in+the+Department+of+Defense%2C+in+D.C.%0A
PHOTO Courtesy/GOOGLE IMAGES/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
The Preamble of the Constitution on display in the Department of Defense, in D.C.

Ever since President Donald Trump took office almost two years ago, he has made several outrageous statements. This includes calling upon the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to establish a Space Force by 2020, which according to CNN, “could cost 12.9 billion dollars over its first five years.” He also kept calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”

On Oct. 30, however, Trump made what is possibly his most outlandish claim yet. In a interview with news site Axios, Trump said that he plans to do away with birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is the legal right to citizenship for anyone born in a United States territory regardless of their parents’ citizenship status.

I have no words to describe my feelings about Trump’s claim. This is basically an attack on U.S. history. We have seen Trump attack illegal immigration before, but this is going too far.

Trump is trying to rewrite the 14th Amendment of the Constitution because he wants everything to go his way. That is absolutely ridiculous.

There are some people that support Trump’s plan, such as U.S. Senator of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham and U.S. Representative for Virginia, Bob Goodlatte, according to USA Today.

As a response, in a Twitter post that was released on the same day that Trump announced his plan, Graham said, “This policy is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end.”

There is just one problem: The Constitution would not allow this.

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to grant citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Not only that, but it forbids the government to deny any eligible person of citizenship under the protection of this amendment.

Over the years, the 14th Amendment has continued to evolve, with clauses added to ensure the protection and rights of anyone under this amendment

No matter what Trump says or does, he can’t get rid of birthright citizenship with an executive order because of the amendment. Even if he does sign an executive order, it will most likely go through the Supreme Court, as he said himself.

We’re signing it and it will probably work its way up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said to reporters outside the White House on Nov. 9.

The 14th Amendment has been involved in many different Supreme Court cases and most of them are in favor of the amendment. These cases include “Brown v. Board of Education (1954),” “Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)” and “Plyler v. Doe (1982).”

The only way for Trump to have his executive order fulfilled is to have Congress alter the constitutional amendment under a two-three majority vote. In my opinion, he’s out of luck with that as well.

Not only will almost half of the Senate be run by Democrats come January, (some of whom are completely against Trump’s plan), but there are some Republicans, such as Paul Ryan, who disapprove of any changes to the Constitution.

In a interview with radio station WVLK on Oct. 30, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action and obviously as conservatives, we believe in the Constitution.”

Ryan wasn’t the only one. On Oct. 31, Marsha Blackburn, the recently elected Senator of Tennessee, spoke to the political website, The Hill, expressing how she doesn’t think it is possible to do away with birthright citizenship, via an executive order.

“I think the 14th Amendment is where it stands,” the senator said.

No matter what Trump says, this is one order that he can’t give.

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