Trump says administration is 'seriously' considering abolishing birthright citizenship

Clark Mindock
EPA

Donald Trump has once again suggested that his administration is considering ways to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States, which is a right laid out in the US Constitution.

The president floated the idea on Wednesday while speaking to reporters on the White House lawn, where he called giving those children citizenship "ridiculous".

"We're looking at that very seriously," he said, before embarking on a trip to Kentucky. "Birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land — walk over the border, have a baby, congratulations, the baby's now a US citizen."

He continued: “We are looking at birthright citizenship very seriously it’s… it’s frankly ridiculous”.

The president first presented the idea during his 2016 presidential campaign, and then brought it up again last year when he said he is considering the measure through executive order.

He has clung to the idea in spite of the considerable fallout, which has included numerous prominent politicians — including Republicans — arguing that the president does not have the authority to make that kind of a change through executive order. Those lawmakers have said that birthright citizenship is a central element of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

But, when he met that earlier criticism, Mr Trump has said that birthright citizenship would be ended "one way or another".

Since becoming president, Mr Trump has sought to crack down on both legal and illegal immigration into the US.

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Those efforts have led to frequent criticisms, especially after news reports emerged of children being separated from their families after arriving at the US-Mexico border.

Many of those separations have been made through a policy of "zero tolerance" embraced by the Trump administration, which has looked to keep migrant families seeking asylum on the Mexico side of the border, and has essentially criminalised seeking asylum in the United States.