One major change to current immigration law — that would also require a constitutional amendment — is gaining a lot of traction within the growing field of 2024 GOP presidential contenders.
That is ending what is called “birthright citizenship.”
At least three of the current Republican candidates running for the nomination support it, including tech business entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
“I think for a period of time it’s going to be necessary in this country, because you have an influx of migrants across that southern border, fourteen thousand-plus a day by some estimates crossing that southern border. That is not a rule of law, that is the abandonment of the rule of law,” he said during an interview on CNN.
“So if migrants are coming illegally, intentionally, to be able to establish an illegal toehold in the United States, then I think that’s something we should not abide in this country,” he added.
While birthright citizenship confers citizenship to the children of legal immigrants in the United States, the ongoing debate primarily centers around whether the same principle should extend to individuals who are residing in the country without legal status, Fox News added.
The 14th Amendment states that “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.” As such, critics of the birthright citizenship policy, as it applies to illegal immigration, believe the Constitution will have to be amended.
“Our Founding Fathers decided that people born here were immediately citizens. Cracking open the Constitution to eliminate that right seems really idiotic,” Miami Mayor and GOP presidential candidate Francis Suarez, whose parents both were Cuban immigrants, told the Daily Caller last month.
But critics, however, say the amendment has been misinterpreted and point to the “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause as their argument.
However, with the United States grappling with an ongoing border crisis, conservatives argue that liberal immigration policies and various incentives, including birthright citizenship, have contributed to the situation. That, in turn, has spurred a renewed push to consider restricting citizenship solely to children of citizens or legal residents.
In May, former President Donald Trump, who currently holds a prominent position in the primary race, expressed his intention to issue an executive order “on day one” that would instruct federal agents to adopt what he deems the “correct interpretation of the law,” denying citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants, regardless of their place of birth.
“Joe Biden has launched an illegal foreign invasion of our country, allowing a record number of illegal aliens to storm across our borders,” Trump said in a video posted on Twitter. “Even though these millions of illegal border crossers have entered the country unlawfully, all of their future children will become automatic U.S. citizens. Can you imagine?
“They’ll be eligible for welfare, taxpayer-funded health care, the right to vote, chain migration and countless other government benefits, many of which will also profit the illegal alien parents. This policy is a reward for breaking the laws of the United States and is obviously a magnet, helping draw a flood of illegals across our borders.”
Last month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is currently polling in second place in the GOP primary race, voiced his support for ending birthright citizenship as it is currently being implemented while unveiling his border security plan in Eagle Pass, Texas.
“This idea that you can come across the border, two days later have a child, and somehow that’s an American citizen — that was not the original understanding of the 14th Amendment, and so we’ll take action to force a clarification of that,” he said.
“I think its wrong that people would use our country for things like birth tourism, so we’re going to be removing the incentives to come here illegally,” he added.