Citizenship rights: Trump’s next target


New immigration policies effect both immigrants and American citizens.

President Donald Trump announced a controversial idea Aug. 21 that has evoked debate across the nation: repealing the birthright citizenship law.

The 14th Amendment, present for over 150 years, states if one is born in the United States, they automatically become a citizen. Trump plans to repeal the section of the 14th Amendment that states this and claims the whole idea is “frankly ridiculous.”

While there may be confusion at the forefront as to why this is such a hot topic for debate, the clouds disperse as one realizes the underlying motives. Trump claims that birthright citizenship is a “magnet for illegal immigration,” and claims it coerces immigrants expecting children to flee to the United States in order to give their child a better opportunity. He believes that with the abolition of birthright citizenship, there will be a decrease in the number of children of illegal immigrants brought across the border as there will be less “incentive.” One fundamental issue with this proposal is the simple question of “which nationality is the child?”

“I just think that’s kind of illogical; if you’re born in the United States, it just makes sense you’re a United States citizen,” junior Caitlin Pritchett said. 

While some people believe there to be truth to his claims, many White House officials and Republican House Representatives are unsure of the issue, primarily because it cannot be done with an executive order, which is his current plan. This would violate Supreme Court precedent and require another Constitutional Amendment. Other Democrats, however, believe this to be just another one of Trump’s racially focused attacks against marginalized groups. 

“I feel like he (Trump) is using this as a type of scapegoat and just trying to find yet another reason to further condemn immigrants, which doesn’t make sense because the majority of the American population are immigrants,” junior Kylee Bray said. 

Not only was the issue of immigrants’ children raised over the summer, questions about the citizenship status of children born from families deployed abroad in the military were brought about as well. According to new plans overseen in the White House, the objective is to force families of military status to sign requests for naturalization for their children born abroad and undergo the naturalization process.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has condemned this policy inferring even those risking their lives for the nation are not given a break against Trump’s war against immigration. 

It’s kind of frustrating to hear because this person is serving our country, moving their whole family and life abroad, and they shouldn’t be taken advantage of.”

— Bray

Skeptics question this policy because if a child is, for example, born in Germany while the American military family is living abroad, yet it takes years for the child to become naturalized, is that family presented with the unfair predicament of either remaining stuck in Germany or abandoning their child?

“If that were in effect, then I could be German,” Bray said. “I was born right as my dad was being deployed in Germany. (This policy) makes no sense at all.” 

There is also blatant hypocrisy being pointed out, with skeptics stating this is only projecting immigration and citizenship problems onto another country that should never have been presented in the first place. 

“They didn’t belong in Germany and weren’t citizens there; it just creates a whole new problem in Germany which isn’t fair to them. It’s redirecting a problem we have here and making it happen in Germany or any other country,” Pritchett said. 

While United States politics are defined as fickle at best, citizenship issues can impact (and potentially destroy) entire families. Whether American or not, all people who are already experiencing the stress and anxiety of expecting a baby ought to be given the security of the Constitution in knowing if their child will technically be “American” or not if they are immigrating or in the military, and should not be based on Trump’s mood, Twitter post of the day, or racial bias. 

“Honestly, I don’t know where it’s going to go, but I think our generation will stand up to Trump in the next election,” Bray said.