Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash Slams Trump's Birthright Citizenship Threat: POTUS Can't 'Amend Constitution' With Executive Order

At least one Republican congressman agrees.

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KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/Newscom

Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) is not a fan of President Donald Trump's apparent plan to end birthright citizenship via executive order.

In an interview with Axios on HBO that aired this morning, Trump suggested he could do away with birthright citizenship, which was instituted by the 14th Amendment. As Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown explained, birthright citizenship grants American citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil.

The relevant portion of the amendment reads: "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."

Trump doesn't believe that should necessarily apply to the American-born children of undocumented immigrants. An executive order, he suggested, might clear things up. "It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," he told Axios. "You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order." The president added that the change is "in the process. It'll happen…with an executive order."

Not so fast, says Amash. He indicated on Twitter that presidents can't, in fact, just sign executive orders to do away with parts of the Constitution or laws.

Amash's sentiments are shared by at least one fellow Republican: Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R–Fla.) Curbelo tweeted that "birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution," meaning the president can't end it with an executive order. Instead, Curbelo called for "broad immigration reform":

It remains to be seen if Trump will follow through and actually try to end birthright citizenship. But as Reason's Damon Root argued in 2015: the Constitution is clear: "If a child is born on U.S. soil, and that child's parents don't happen to be diplomats, foreign ministers, or invading foreign troops, then that child is a U.S. citizen by virtue of birth."

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184 responses to “Rep. Justin Amash Slams Trump's Birthright Citizenship Threat: POTUS Can't 'Amend Constitution' With Executive Order

  1. Trump needs to get smacked down hard for this nonsense. It seems like in recent months he got off his executive order kick, but now it sounds like he’s revving back up.

    1. Whoa, a whole article about my man Amash, and no Just Sayin’ on here complaining about it? Is he ok? Someone check on him, please.

      1. Impeach Trump for high treason! He is openly favoring bald-faced, literal disobedience to the plain words of the written Constitution! What more does it take?!

        1. What more does it take? A House with brains and then a Senate with testicles.

        2. Sorry but it is not clear. The 14th amendment that states “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.” The question is about the phrase ” and subject to jurisdiction thereof.” Are people in this country illegally, who are not citizens, subject to the jurisdiction of the US? When an illegal immigrant commits a crime and a state seeks to pursue the death penalty, almost always the person’s home government will intervene and attempt to interfere with our justice system by claiming the person is a citizen of their country, not the US. If they are not under the jurisdiction of the US justice system, they cannot claim the status of a US citizen, nor can they claim their children are as well. The issue is one for Congress and the SCOTUS to debate and all the President is actually attempting to do is force the debate.

          1. The word born makes it very clear. This was a one time shot for the slaves. It does not say “who are born”, “who may be born”, or “will be born”. If you weren’t born when the amendment was enacted then it doesn’t apply to you.

          2. A Mexican (or Honduran or whatever) citizen is subject to the jurisdiction of Mexico (or Honduras or whatever).

    2. Smacked Down for acknowledging a point of contention for constitutional scholars that has been discussed for decades?

      The best part of Trump’s statement is watching the ignorant proudly demonstrate their ignorance.

      1. “Constitutional scholars” can argue till they are blue in the face, and all of their “expertology” gets us very little, except violations of the plain written words of the Constitution, WITHOUT anyone bothering to amend it! Old days: Change fed powers? Change the Constitution! Income taxes added? Booze is outlawed? Change the Constitution! Booze is legal again? Change the Constitution!

        That was called “honesty”; you call literal adherence to the Constitution “ignorance” instead! You call me “ignorant” for wishing that the Constitution should be more than toilet paper? I call you dishonest!

        Now, despite the 9th and 10th amendments, we have added fed powers WITHOUT amending the Constitution!!!
        Welfare, Social Security, massive wiretapping, concentration camps (for Japanese-Americans), FDA, DEA, EPA, fed involvement in housing, education, and on and on… And now you want to add a Department of Excluding the Native-Born Illegal Sub-Humans? WITHOUT A NEW AMENDMENT!!!! What more, before we say WAAAY enough of that?!?!

        1. You call them sub-humans.
          Why would you want people you denigrate to become citizens?

        2. “and of the state wherein they reside”
          The 14th amendment refers to residents of states.
          Residency is a legal status.
          Illegals don’t have it.

          1. No, residency is a matter of actual fact. Bacteria reside in my gut, whether they are legal or illegal bacteria, good or bad bacteria. If I live in mental-illness fantasy-land, and deny the residency (existence) of bad, disease-causing bacteria in my gut, then I am endangering myself. If we delude ourselves into fighting all day about whether the humans are legal humans, or illegal sub-humans, then we endanger ourselves. Legal v/s illegal shouldn’t be the issue, good or bad should be the issue. Humans, legal or illegal, can both do good or bad things. We don’t argue about the paperwork status of the bacteria in our gut, we worry about whether they are doing good, or bad. To do otherwise, would be to be mentally ill.

            On this issue, the USA is collectively mentally ill about legal humans V/S illegal sub-humans!

            1. Most states require months if not years of living there before you’re eligible for residency.

              WA is 1 year.

              But carry on with your delusions.

        3. Ah, rodent man squeeks!

          Seriously, the plain language of the Amendment does not extend citizenship to everyone born in the US. It tempers it with being under the law of the US. This exact language is the reason that a baby born to a diplomat of a foreign country born here is not accorded citizenship. It is clear under the Amendment that citizenship IS accorded to those here legally, who have placed themselves under the law of the US. It is NOT clear that the Amendment extends citizenship to those here ILLEGALLY who therefore NOT placed themselves under the law of the US.

          There is no need to discuss Sub-human status, so you are safe!

          1. Spin the words however you want, and shit on the plain written words of the Constitution some more, as tons of politicians and judges have already done anyway. At this point, we might as well wipe our asses with the Constitution, as much REAL obedience as we pay to it!

            HOW do you expect a new-born baby to “place themselves under the law of the US”? Is a native-born baby, of native-born parents, any more capable of that than a native-born baby of an illegal sub-human?

            I hope we have a sea change around here, before we are all “papers please” subjects of the Department of Excluding the Native-Born Illegal Sub-Humans!

          2. The 14th conspicuously did *not* grant birthright citizenship to Native Americans, who though born in the US, were subjects of Native American tribal governments, and therefore *not* made automatic citizens by birth until THE INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924.

            In fact, there was even an exemption for *some* Native Americans built in the Act, where they would *not* be citizens if that damaged their tribal property rights. The Act would have thereby been straightforwardly unconstitutional.

            There was no legislative change similarly granting birthright citizenship to babies born in the US to citizens of all other polities in the world.

            There is neither a constitutional provision nor a law mandating birthright citizenship for illegals.

    3. It’s a shame we don’t have some body with the authority to interpret laws and the constitution. Luckily we have the Reason commentariat to provide us with legal advice.

  2. But according to Amish, the President does have the right to totally rewrite the Immigration and Naturalization Act. I think anyone who cheerleaded DACA the way Amish did, might want to sit this one out. Spare me his deep concerns about the texts of statutes. What a phony.

    1. Reason staff loving Amash was always a red flag for me.

      Amash never disappoints that he is a hypocrite lying asshole like the rest.

      1. “…a hypocrite lying asshole…” should be refuted by argument, not the fallacious “argument ad hominem”.

        1. John gave a very good argument – he loved 0blama creating the DACAsses, but decries Trump providing clarification on the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”.
          The former is a far more egregious alteration of law than the latter.

          1. The question is why does a congressman come out of the woodwork a week before a very important election and go against his party like this?

            1. It’s all about the team for you assholes.

            2. He didn’t go against his party

              He’s in the right wing of the Globalist Uniparty.

    2. Please, none of them will sit this one out. The open borders folks are profoundly dishonest.

    3. The President has the authority to enforce the laws. All prosecutors, cops, and judges have the authority to do so in any way they see fit and just, or unjust if they wish. The same way a cop can decide to not give you speeding ticket, even though you clearly broke the law, is the same way a prosecutor can choose to only charge someone for breaking and entering, but drop felony burglary charges, is the same way the President can choose to not deport kids who were brought here by their parents.

      1. The President has a constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

        Laying aside unconstitutional enactments (which aren’t laws IMHO), this would seem to include a duty to enforce the statutes on the books, not just the ones he happens to like.

        To be sure, it would be hard to sue him to force him to enforce the laws, but this very fact makes his responsibility all the more important.

        1. So, if Congress passes a law that all Jews should be imprisoned, the President vetoed it, and Congress then overturned that Veto, the President is then required to uphold that law?

          1. No, he could resign.

            1. Indeed. Sort of a one-man jury nullification.

          2. “Laying aside unconstitutional enactments (which aren’t laws IMHO)” – like I said.

      2. DACA went beyond prosecutorial discretion. It included work permits to illegal aliens in violation of the law.

    4. I’ve been a bit suspicious of Amash sometimes. By contrast Massie is ultrahawkish on intellectual property but he won my heart back a little by characterizing it as an area in which he is not libertarian. With everyone bending over backwards to claim a definition of libertarianism that encompasses their preferred positions–often ones that have a lot less claim on being a historical matter of intramural controversy within libertarianism than does IP hawkery–how refreshing to find someone whose impulse to the contrary is to characterize his own position as a deviation from orthodoxy!

      You will have some words with Just Say’n because he likes Amash a lot and sees him and Massie as having flaws and merits that balance each other and usually cover all bases between them. I was beginning to sideeye Amash after he joined the Putin meeting freakout, but Say’n assuaged me. I guess I always kind of liked the guy on balance; I’d certainly love for him to be president.

      1. I feel the same way about all the contortions employed to make a certain label fit what you think. Libertarian is just a word. I couldn’t care less if you say I’m not a libertarian. Explain why I’m wrong.

  3. I had no idea the caravaneers were American slaves. Let them in!

  4. All these people getting trolled by Trump ….again.

    Its really fun to watch.

    Trump will just use the US Military to prevent people from being born in the USA, thereby avoiding the 14A all together.

    Every pregnant illegal being pushed by US military members over the border into Mexican territory with a rake. Baby pops out.

    1. That’s OK. Mexico has its own anti-choice Hitlerjugend. Conservative nationalsocialists still get what you want, and then some.

    2. So you don’t love the constitution all that much, after all?

      1. Was that ever a question?

    3. MAGA!

  5. What was it Gillespie said a number of weeks ago on Reason TV? It went something like, “Trump’s critics take him literally but they don’t take him seriously; Trump supporters take him seriously but they don’t take him literally”.

    I think that’s what we’re looking at here.

    There’s an election a week from now. This is meant to fire up the base. The Republicans will lose seats in the House and will probably lose control of the House. This rhetoric is meant to drive turnout.

    Of greater interest is Trump calling up 5,200 soldiers into the National Guard to patrol the border. That shit’s real.

    1. We know that you meant to say the House and the Senate.

      Sending troops to the US border to prevent an actual group of illegals who are being egged on to the border gives trump and the GOP all the votes they need to cleanup this election 2018.

      The caravan of immigrants is great PR for the GOP.

      1. I’m not convinced the Republicans are likely to lose control of the Senate.

        I still expect the Republicans to lose control of the House.

        1. Republicans will pick up seats in the Senate. Democrats are defending lots more seats, and more marginal seats for them.

          And the House may surprise. Despite winning the Presidency for himself, Trump was probably dragging down some Republicans in 2016. It was a hostile takeover of the Republican Party establishment. Since then, the party has unified around him, and the economy has markedly improved.

          There are big countervailing forces to the usual “the party in power loses seats”.

    2. They are engineers and are not going to be rounding up illegals.

    3. The first time that any member of the US Armed Forces acts to enforce the law, Trump will have given the Democrats something they could not get any other way – a High Crime and Misdemeanor with which to impeach Trump. The Posse Comitatus Act absolutely forbids the use of troops to enforce laws.

      To declare martial law Trump needs congressional approval. He won’t get it.

      1. So your position is that posse comitatus forbids the military from defending the US on US soil?
        Or are you speaking strictly of the politics of it?

      2. To use federal troops on the US border? Yeah, that is perfectly legal.

        1. Posse Comitatus Act
          “except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress; ”

          Like where The Constitution *obligates* the federal government to prevent invasion.

          Article IV, Section 4
          “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against invasion”

          *shall* protect

  6. I respect Amash’s opinion but he is not correct. Sound constitutional analysis suggest that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” meant complete jurisdiction, excluding those that were aliens or owed allegiance to another country.

    Every single person who will be shrieking about this today is not being honest about the law, but simply prefers birthright citizenship as a policy matter because of their maximalist immigration, open border views. OK — not every single one but 99.99%, and if anyone is the exception it could be Amash.

    And as a policy matter, birthright citizenship is indefensible. No other country does this. It’s absurd on its face. This is much more important than other immigration issues like the wall.

    1. Agreed, the idea that the current legal standard of Birthright citizenship is identical to the enumerated 14th amendment is silly. I won’t try to interpret it, that’s what SCOTUS is for. However, it’s clear that the case could indeed go to the Supreme Court. I think it’s likely they would rule against the President, but it’s not a slam dunk decision.

    2. As I wrote in another thread earlier today:

      “I oppose the President changing the rules of naturalization without the input of Congress for the same reason that I oppose the President going to war without Congress declaring war–the Constitution enumerates both powers to Congress. I’ve opposed wars I would have supported otherwise because they were unconstitutional, and I’d oppose an unconstitutional change in the rules of naturalization by the President for the same reason.”

      https://reason.com/blog/2018/10…..nt_7537864

      1. Regardless of your interpretation of the law, it’s Congress’ enumerated power we’re talking about, here. I defend the integrity of the separation of powers in the Constitution for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with my motives on any particular issue. I oppose unconstitutional wars I would have supported otherwise–solely because they’re unconstitutional. I do that because I depend on the First Amendment and Second Amendment to protect my freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and my gun rights among other things.

        Protecting my religious rights and gun rights doesn’t have much to do with the liberation of Libya, and, yet, there I am opposing Obama’s unconstitutional war in Libya, mostly because I care about gun rights and religious rights. I supported our participation in Libya within the context of an argument about whether Congress should declare war.

        How does that square with your suggestion that we’re mostly opposing the president on unconstitutionally usurping the enumerated powers of Congress because of our immediate preferences on immigration policy? Oh, and I should add, if you can’t make your arguments without attacking the motives of 99.99% of the people who disagree with you, then your argument must not be very strong. It’s basically an ad hominem fallacy.

        1. Good point — I have no doubt that Congress has the prerogative on this issue, superior to the executive. But whether Trump can do this by EO depends on the text of Congress’ relevant legislation on this question up to this point. I have not reviewed this issue or formed an opinion on it, so I am open to the possibility that the EO is not legally tenable on the basis of existing legislation and separation of powers.

          What I was focused on here is the separate issue of whether the Constitution mandates birthright citizenship as it exists today, with the entailing “birth tourism” “maternity hotels” and “anchor babies.” If that’s the case then even Congress has no say in the matter.

          1. To expand on the point, Trump’s EO depends on existing legislation, for example, whether Congress has mandated a definitive answer on this question or whether they have delegated authority to the executive to establish rules of naturalization.

            As for bad faith , you’re generally correct. I usually don’t harp on this too much . . . but with respect to this hot button issue, I am 100% certain there will be more people arguing in bad faith than even the hottest of other issues across the pages of the Washington Post, on Twitter, and so on.

          2. “I have no doubt that Congress has the prerogative on this issue, superior to the executive. But whether Trump can do this by EO depends on the text of Congress’ relevant legislation on this question up to this point.”

            Setting the uniform rules of naturalization is an enumerated power of Congress, and the President should have no constitutional basis to change them without Congress.

            I’m not even sure Congress has the power to defer to the President on the issue of naturalization unless the President somehow wants to make it about national defense and do it within his emergency powers as commander-in-chief. Even then, I believe the President would need a declaration of war from Congress to justify such a claim.

            1. “I’m not even sure Congress has the power to defer to the President on the issue of naturalization”

              Why not?

              And

              What would stop them?

              1. The separation of powers in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

                If you want to change that, you probably need an amendment.

                1. So Congress cannot ever delegate powers?

                  And, “what would stop them” remains unanswered.

                  1. When I asked “what would stop them” I meant that in the ” what body would step in and roadblock this” practical sense. Many many many unconsitutional activities are engaged in by government every day, and go unchecked.

                  2. The courts would stop them.

                    The first time the federal government tries to deport an infant who was born on U.S. soil for not being a U.S. citizen, any given lawyer will argue that Trump’s EO getting rid of birthright citizenship is unconstitutional because Congress didn’t vote on the change in the rules of naturalization as required by the Constitution.

                    1. Under the current precedent permitting our massive administrative state — which functions as a permanent government virtually untethered from our elected politicians — there is no question that the executive could change rules such as this, if Congress did not foreclose that option.

                    2. I think there are big questions about whether the president can change things that are within the enumerated powers of Congress without their input, and mistakes made in the past doesn’t justify making more mistakes today.

                    3. “The courts would stop them”

                      Would? Like you’re CERTAIN? Because many many unconsitutional activities are engaged in by government every day, and go unchecked by those same courts.

                      Could seems like the right word there.

                      And… The question of delegation of powers remains unanswered.

                    4. Ken, I’ll be blunt. You analysis sounds like wishcasting, not reality.

                    5. You’re being willfully obtuse again.

                    6. No, I’m asking you questions that you either aren’t answering or engaging in wishcasting over. So far you haven’t actually answered anything, but you’ll call me obtuse so you can save face and exit the conversation.

                      You THINK the courts will stop it, despite a lot of precedent that says otherwise.

                      Meanwhile, you STILL haven’t explained why you tholink Congress cannot delegate powers, despite doing so all the time.

                      If I didn’t know better, I’d say you realized that my points defeated your assertions, and you’re left struggling for a response, so you went with “you’rd being obtuse.”

                    7. “In the Federal Government of the United States, the nondelegation doctrine is the principle that the Congress of the United States, being vested with “all legislative powers” by Article One, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, cannot delegate that power to anyone else. However, the Supreme Court ruled in J. W. Hampton, Jr. & Co. v. United States (1928)[1] that congressional delegation of legislative authority is an implied power of Congress that is constitutional so long as Congress provides an “intelligible principle” to guide the executive branch: ”

                      Congress can delegate the power to the executive.

                      So, there now you can be sure that “Congress has the power to defer to the President on the issue of naturalization”

                    8. “The courts would stop them”

                      Would? Like you’re CERTAIN? Because many many unconsitutional activities are engaged in by government every day, and go unchecked by those same courts.

                      Could seems like the right word there.

                      You know, if the courts DID stop it on those grounds…well, there could be some REALLY interesting lawsuits filed based on that precedent alone.

                      The EPA would be gutted.

                    9. “The EPA would be gutted.”

                      Congress’ power to regulate commerce among the states has been interpreted far too broadly, but that doesn’t mean the President can or should regulate commerce among the states without Congress’ involvement.

                      The Clean Water Act etc. isn’t enacted without Congress’ involvement. They passed those monstrosities.

                      What we’re talking about is President Obama fundamentally changing those acts by way of EOs without any input from Congress.

                      Or Trump making fundamental changes to the rules of naturalization.

                    10. But that would require demonstrating that there’s a Congressional statute that’s actually on point and granting them citizenship, because right now they’re not being “naturalized”, they’re claiming citizenship based on the 14th amendment.

                      If they’re not “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”, the 14th amendment doesn’t give them citizenship, and it would take an affirmative statute on the topic to make them citizens.

                    11. “But that would require demonstrating that there’s a Congressional statute that’s actually on point and granting them citizenship, because right now they’re not being “naturalized”, they’re claiming citizenship based on the 14th amendment.”

                      We’re still talking about the president changing the rules.

                      That is clearly not the way it’s done.

                    12. “That is clearly not the way it’s done.”

                      Except when it is, all the time.

                      JFC Ken what reality do you live in?

                      YOU are being willfully obtuse.

                    13. ICE/INS has managed to deport hundreds of US citizens over the last few decades, both “natural born” citizens and naturalized citizens, not on any grounds of revoking their citizenship, but in error on the grounds that they supposedly weren’t citizens.

                      Generally, they manage to get back into the US, but that doesn’t erase the fact that they got deported in the first place.

                    14. No one but the Deep State voted on the initial change of the Constitution granting birthright citizenship.

                  3. This is two issues.

                    SHOULD Congress delegate powers and CAN Congress delegate powers.

                    If your position is that Congress CANNOT delegate powers, them the entire bureaucracy is unconstitutional. Congress has delegated powers to the executive branch allowing regulations to be created with separate legal courts and penalties not specifically enumerated by Congress.

                    If your position is that Congress SHOULD NOT delegate powers, that is another matter for discussion.

                2. Isn’t this just a matter of enforcing an interpretation of current law?

                  So it’s more between courts and executive.

                  If congress wants to remove ambiguity from what is written, they need to act, but absent that, it’s executive interpretation and an EO seems the right way of expressing it.

                  The courts will likely end up dealing with it.

            2. “and the President should have no constitutional basis to change them without Congress.”

              As a matter of principle I agree.

              But when one defers action that is a form of exercising one’s prerogative. So, to the extent that Congress is ‘deferring’ to the executive, it is presumably because they are either unwilling or unable to properly do anything otherwise.

              And, as a practical matter (and for better or worse) that is how our system – of co-equal branches – operates.

              I’d prefer this be done legislatively. I am also not clear that the 14th establishes ‘birthright’ citizenship as a Constitutional matter.

        2. If Congress hasn’t enacted a law declaring the children of illegal aliens to be citizens, then it’s perfecty within the ambit of the Executive branch to argue that, as a matter of enforcing existing law, (Including the Constitution.) they aren’t. It’s not a usurpation at all.

          If there’s an on-point statute, you’re right. Is there?

          1. “The Congress shall have power . . . . to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”

            —-Article I, Section 8

            That’s what it says.

            They have established this. If the courts have interpreted something in some way so that Congress feels like the rules need to be readdressed, then they can change the uniform rules of naturalization whenever they want–and send it to the president’s desk for signature.

            Nowhere does it suggest that the president has the power to reinterpret rules that are so fundamental such as whether birth within our borders automatically equals citizenship. Again, I’m not even sure Congress can delegate their enumerated powers to the president–not without a constitutional amendment.

            1. “nat?u?ral?i?za?tion
              /?naCH(?)r?l??z?SH?n,?naCH(?)r??l??z?SH?n/
              noun
              noun: naturalization; noun: naturalisation

              1.
              the admittance of a foreigner to the citizenship of a country.
              “an application for naturalization as a British citizen””

              This isn’t a question about naturalization, it’s a question about birthright citizenship. My wife, an immigrant, has been naturalized per the rules enacted by Congress. I and my son? Never naturalized, those rules weren’t relevant because we were both citizens at birth.

              1. That is being . . .

                Naturalization is about how people become citizens and saying that people aren’t citizens just because they’re born here is fully within the context of naturalization policy.

                1. So, on the specific sub-issue discussed in this thread, McCarthy has a piece at National Review. The relevant legislation simply mirrors the Constitutional text, so this does not provide much clarity. McCarthy thinks that when the legislation was passed in 1952, Congress intended it to include illegal aliens (regardless of what the Constitutional text should be held as meaning), so therefore Trump can’t change this by EO. It’s a reasonable opinion, but not very in depth and hardly unassailable.

            2. Until congress affirmatively creates said rule, it can be considered in the executive domain. It says they can establish, not must establish.

            3. “They have established this. ”

              In what legislation precisely?

        3. “Regardless of your interpretation of the law, it’s Congress’ enumerated power we’re talking about, here.”

          Trump would be countermanding Deep State usurpation of that enumerated power.

          Congress can pass a countermanding law of Trump’s executive order any time they like. If Trump tries to overrule that, then you can start complaining.

    3. You have to be careful because the 14th Amendment was designed to prevent ex-slaves from being denied US citizenship.

      Some slaves were beholden to the Confederate States of America. That makes them US aliens or exposes their allegiance to another country.

      The 14th Amendment is a loser solution to this problem unless you solution is to keep non-Americans from popping out kids on US territory.

      The 14A is very powerful and should used to destroy all state laws that infringe on the US Constitutional rights and privileges of US Citizens. All gun control laws should be repealed immediately because those state laws infringe on a US Citizen’s right to keep and bear Arms under the 2A.

      1. But it was the legal position of the Union that the Confederate states couldn’t secede, and thus everybody down here were US citizens all along, regardless. Including the slaves.

        1. “But it was the legal position of the Union that the Confederate states couldn’t secede…”

          I’m not sure how that position can be squared with the need for each Confederate State to petition for re-admission to the Union. Or that those states did not have Federal representation during the interregnum.

          The Union may have said they had no right to do so, but in deed the Union responded as if they did so.

        2. That Union legal position was wrong. IIRC rhode island and Virginia refused to ratify the Constitution without explicit language that they could secede at any time for any reason. This would set a precedent that other states could secede too.

          IIRC there is no language in the Constitution prohibiting secession, only that congress gets a say on which states get admitted into the United States of America.

          I like the debate but I think article I, section 9, clause 1 already provides the power for congres to regulate migrants as of 1808 and article I, section 8 give congress the enumerated power to regulate naturalization.

      2. Actually I don’t necessarily agree with that view of the 14A, on originalist grounds, I suspect the 14A should not have incorporated other rights against the states. But this is very outside the mainstream at this point.

        But it doesn’t matter either way for this issue. For a good treatment of the issue see here.

        1. You’re very much in disagreement with the people who wrote the thing, then, and explained what it meant to the rest of Congress.

          1. I’m not very well versed on the issue. My understanding is the Court has only selectively incorporated certain of the bill of rights against the States, not all, based on what they view as “fundamental” or something, and this position has taken many years to develop. To be clear, the alternative hypothesis is that you would just have a more free ranging approach to interpreting “life, liberty, or property” (or perhaps “privileges and immunities”) which may very well include the right to bear arms, but that the text of the bill of rights just wasn’t specifically “incorporated.”

    4. No other country has a bill of individual rights either. Some have collectivized rights and entitlements, but those aren’t the same thing.

      1. Sure. Do you care to defend the policy of anchor babies on the merits?

    5. Canada has birthright citizenship.

      1. Only other modern society that does. Most other birthright citizen countries are fairly undeveloped by modern characterization.

  7. So is the ” I have a Pen and a phone” thing no longer valid?

    1. His pen is too short.

      1. The mushroom tip doesn’t count?

    2. It was never valid in the first place.

  8. Amash is 100% right. That said, the idiots who always respond to his Trump criticisms on Twitter with variants of “this is your fault, you GOP droop” are garbage, and they need to be smacked down.

    1. *droog

  9. Amash is 100% right on this. That being said, the idiots who always respond to his Trump criticisms on Twitter with variants of “this is your fault, you GOP droog” need to be smacked down hard. He and Massie are arguably the only two people of honor in the entire House.

  10. invading foreign troops

    Whole bunch of wriggle room there.

    1. They aint tourists.
      They ain’t Americans.

      1. That leaves only one other choice.

        1. It actually leaves a few choices but Americans feel like they are being invaded by non-Americans who hate American Rule of Law and want to overthrow American ways.

          1. And it’s the feelings of some percentage of the population that matters most.

            1. Whether they are right matters.

        2. “That leaves only one other choice.”

          Visiting sailors?

        3. “That leaves only one other choice.”

          Traveling woodchipper salesmen?

    2. Let’s see: Battalion-sized element marching toward the border under a foreign flag with intent to enter, occupy, and extract tribute?

      Sounds about right.

  11. I believe Mr. Amish is conflating the word amend with interpret. As chief executive it is his duty to interpret the constitution as it applies to immigration law. If someone is harmed by that policy, they can seek arbitration from the judicial branch. Also, he has seemed to mixed up the meaning of the words can’t and shouldn’t.

  12. It’s fascinating to watch a GOP president contradict everything in just one interview.
    Executive orders – remember when Obama was a tyrant because of his use of executive orders?

    Originalism and Textualism – don’t republicans favor interpreting the constitution literally and in a way meant by the people who wrote it and its amendments? Apparently Trump is fine projecting his own interpretation.

    Corallary – if Trump advocates an executive order to override a literal clause in the constitution what is to stop a Democratic president from making an executive order that takes away your right to bear arms? Answer – nothing.

    These contradictions are so obvious and blatant I don’t think even Trump supporters can withstand that kind of cognitive dissonance. Verdict – Trump is trolling us a week before the election.

    Final element of hypocrisy – isn’t one of Trump’s favorite arguments that the Dems just do things before elections on purpose to gin up the base? For example, NY charging the Trump with fraud. This is just another case of Trump being a blatant hypocrite and well deserving of the critical press he gets despite the fact that he claims the press is overly critical (which is of course, just another example of his rampant hypocrisy).

    1. Trump isn’t a Republican in the mold of Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan. He’s a populist in the mold of Theodore Roosevelt.

      Trump was denounced and vilified by those who opposed him, both within the Tea Party and within the Republican establishment.

      In fact, Trump won the primaries, mostly, by kicking the crap out of the competition in states with open primaries–where registered Democrats could vote for him. He won the election because he won the white, blue-collar, middle-class vote in rust belt states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. That was always the Democrats’ bread and butter.

      Trump represents a flooding of the Democrat, blue-collar, Midwest into the Republicans party. This happened before–for all the same reasons. The white, blue-collar, middle class was vilified by the progressives and social justice warriors who run the Democratic Party, and so they abandoned the Democrats for a populist.

    2. Check out this quote:

      “Reagan Democrats” no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_Democrat

      That was written about when Reagan won 49 out of 50 states in 1984, but it could have been written about Donald Trump in 2016.

      The difference is that Reagan was an establishment Republican.

      Donald Trump is not an establishment Republican by ideology.

      The thing that’s the same is the electorate. White, blue-collar, Democrats in the rust belt, the UAW, AFL-CIO, United Steel Workers, Teamsters, etc. types–those people were alienated by the Democrats focusing on social justice issues in the ’70s and throwing their concerns to the wind, just taking them for granted.

  13. SO the Republican Fuehrer needs an Enabling Act in order to suspend that part of the Constitution that interferes with forcing the frauleins to bring forth Lebensborn warriors against race suicide? What a novel idea!
    It’s too bad the Dems were too interested in legislating Millerite Warmunist Pseudoscience and taxing the air we breathe (except in Red China) to see this coming…

  14. Isn’t the caravan mob an invading troop?

    1. We went to war with Mexico for less.

    2. Check out these videos of the mob. They sure look hostile to me.

  15. Illegal immigrants are invading foreign troops. Just because they don’t have guns, doesn’t mean that they aren’t an attack.

    Problem solved.

    1. It’s cute how all of you rubes have started parroting the “invading force” talking point. Fox News is a powerful force.

      1. It’s even cuter how shitlib NPCs have parroted the “they’re just looking for safety from violence” talking point.

    2. The Constitution doesn’t say “invasion of troops” it says “invasion”.

  16. Birthright citizenship wasn’t instituted by the 14th Amendment. It’s a misapplication of the verdict in the Wong Kim Ark case.

    1. Absolutely correct.

      Birthright citiezenship is not a thing because it is codified into law or that the Supreme Court has ruled that all babies born in America are citizens. That is not true at all.

      Trump’s EO could be a simple clarification that “….and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,….” means that the parents of the children born here need to be legal residents for the purpose of immigration enforcement by the executive agencies.

      No new law or amendment required.

      Supreme Court decisions like Wong Kim Ark support this as his citizenship was approved on the basis that his parents were permanent legal residents, holding jobs in the US, and no treaty with China prevented them from becoming citizens.

    2. And arguably, Wong Kim Ark was incorrect as well.

      But what I’d like to know is what is the first instance of this misapplication?

  17. Just emptying your uterus over the border doesn’t confer citizenship. That isn’t the intention of the 14th amendment, which was clearly aimed at making ex-slaves citizens. If you’re not here according to the Law, your spawn are not here according to the Law.

    1. “That isn’t the intention of the 14th amendment,”
      That’s the words of the 14th amendment, and laws are made of words.

      1. It’s not the words either.

        ” 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*.”

        Residency is a legal status, not gps coordinates.
        Illegals don’t have that legal status, nor are they subjects of the United states, so are not referred to in the 14th.

  18. Trump should nail his Executive Order to the Border Wall, so the Caravan can read it.

  19. Is it ok to now add unconstitutionalist to Drumpf’s resume on top of nationalist?

    1. Trump has many official titles:
      God Emperor of the United States
      Commander of the Armed Forces
      Defender of the Constitution and the American People
      Troll of All Cucks and Commies

  20. No, but his action can precipitate a case to the Court where we may get a definitive ruling on the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”….something the courts have avoided for a Century.
    Plus, wasn’t there an XO back in the 1960’s that gave us the current operative meaning of that clause?

    1. I agree. The problem I see though is that the asylum laws would have to be addressed as well. If someone claims asylum and we have to accept that by law, doesn’t that place them in our jurisdiction? I like it does in my honest opinion.

      1. We the American, as apposed to migrant squatters, People don’t have to allow anyone, for any reason into our Nation. However since the first post Revolution migrant got themselves block voted by other ignorant migrants into office We the American People have listened to the constant cry WAIT, WAIT!!! the rest of my Country isn’t here yet. The stinking migrants in Congress even went as far as to close the entrance vetting points such as Ellis Island so that their mentally less fortunate relatives could finally get in to spread their weak genes and help them with the destruction of America!!!!!!!

  21. Trump is in love with presidential power and his love for power trumps reason, every time.

    Imagine a president so stupid to believe that he can override a constitutional provision with the stroke of his pen.

    The only thing more stupid would be a court decision that backs him up. Not likely, but not impossible. If the Supreme Court could ignore the law and “elect George W. Bush,” as they did, with Scalia, the “strict constructionist and originalist authoring that shameless opinion, there’s not much they can’t do if they focus their collective and disintegrating minds to it.

    1. Wake the hell up moron! Trump being extremely wealthy himself ran in circles where he could see the power and control Globalist Corporate elites were wielding over the people of this Nation. Unlike any of the others since Kennedy he has stood to do something about it. Maybe your to ignorant to notice but Trumps at war with the Corporate bought and owned in Congress (of both Party’s) and the Corporate owned Media. Try researching Corporatism!!! Then thank Trump for trying to save whats left of America for your grandchildren.

  22. Justin needs to get out the books and study our Constitution, and the language used in it. He needs to learn the difference between “subject to” and “under”. Both are legal terms and they are NOT synonymous.

    Once he understands the difference he will be forced to backpedal and correst his statements… which is why he is

  23. The problem with Unconstitutional gov actions is two-fold. 1. They are enforced immediately and relief may come years or many decades later or not at all. As one Supreme Court Justice noted: “Justice delayed is justice denied.” 2. Illegal enforcement and injury are not punished.

    How is this a “check & balance” of on gov power? The victims get no compensation or relief and criminal authorities are not even indited. This is the result of coercive “law & order”.

    What could be more unjust and chaotic? We are told that would be a voluntary gov based on reason & rights. But we can’t test that claim because the authoritarians won’t allow it. “It would be chaos.”

    And the populace takes their claim on faith. They have to. All evidence contradicts it.

  24. Doesn’t he say that this is to address the issue of a child being born to someone in the country illegally? Doesn’t the Supreme Court need to weigh-in on this unchallenged question?

  25. “and of the state wherein they reside”
    The 14th amendment refers to residents of states.
    Residency is a legal status.
    Illegals don’t have it.

    1. Residency for states is usually quite simple. Live in that state for 30 days, etc.

      Article I, section 9 clause 1 took the state power to regulate migrants after 1807 and have it to congress.

      1. Most are much more than 30 days. WA is 1 year.

        And despite illegals getting all sorts of state benefits and rights, it’s unclear that this makes them legal residents of those states for the states purposes, or legal residents of those states for the federal government’s purposes.

  26. “and of the state wherein they reside”
    The 14th amendment refers to residents of states.
    Residency is a legal status.
    Illegals don’t have it.

  27. “Rep. Justin Amash Slams Trump’s Birthright Citizenship Threat: POTUS Can’t ‘Amend Constitution’ With Executive Order”

    Trump never said he could. He doesn’t need to. Birthright citizenship was never part of the Constitution.

  28. “Rep. Justin Amash Slams Trump’s Birthright Citizenship Threat: POTUS Can’t ‘Amend Constitution’ With Executive Order”

    Trump never said he could amend the Constitution with an executive order. He doesn’t need to. Birthright citizenship was never part of the Constitution.

    I’m generally annoyed by the question begging of pols.

  29. Yes, the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear…the parents of the newborn must be under the jurisdiction of the United States for the newborn to be a citizen.

    Illegals are NOT under the jurisdiction of the United States; therefor their children born in the U.S. are NOT citizens.

    1. How are undocumented immigrants not under the jurisdiction of the United States?

      All the laws in the United States still apply to them.

      Which law school did you attend, again?

  30. Yes, the wording of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear…the parents of the newborn must be under the jurisdiction of the United States for the newborn to be a citizen.

    Illegals are NOT under the jurisdiction of the United States; therefor their children born in the U.S. are NOT citizens.

    1. Like everything else stated in the Constitution, this too is up for interpretation. In the event of someone claiming asylum, as I stated further up on the comment section, by law we have to accept that individual so doesn’t that put them in the jurisdiction of the United States? I’m not a very intelligent individual but I can at least see through the red tape. 😉

      1. With that said, asylum laws will also have to be addressed or eliminated.

      2. “Like everything else stated in the Constitution, this too is up for interpretation.”

        Which is obviously what Trump’s proposed EO is about, a different interpretation. And the courts will decide.

        What’s asylum law got to do with the Fourteenth?

    2. Yes they are. This is long settled. There is no such thing as an “illegal.” There are noncitizens in the United States who are not diplomats. Under whose jurisdiction are they?

      1. Tony, I know you get a lot of grief from many Constitutional experts on this comment site but I would hope that the majority of the lock stepping Drumpfsters on this comment site can figure at least that much.

  31. To be fair to Trump, the Supreme Court record on US citizenship is less than stellar. Although it upheld the rights of birthright citizens under the 14th Amendment in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), only a few years later in the Insular Cases it decided that the same citizenship clause in that same amendment did NOT apply in what it called “unincorporated territories”. Namely, those the US had acquired through the Spanish-American War like the Philippine, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.

    More relevant to Trump’s contention now is that in 1884, 14 years before the Wong Kim Ark case, the Court ruled that Native Americans born on US soil aren’t necessarily US citizens either. The case in question was Elk v. Wilkins. In that court case a Winnebago Indian named John Elk tried to claim US citizenship under the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Instead Their Honours ruled that even though Elk was born in the United States, he was NOT a US citizen. Their reason: he owed allegiance to his tribe when he was born rather than to the U.S. and therefore was not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States when he was born.

    By that yardstick it is unclear whether ANY of America’s Native Americans, or at least those born inside the US but on tribal lands, are legally US citizens even now.?

    1. “only a few years later in the Insular Cases it decided that the same citizenship clause in that same amendment did NOT apply in what it called “unincorporated territories”.”

      Which makes sense if you pay attention to the end of the sentence
      “and of the state wherein they reside”

      If you don’t reside in a state, the 14th isn’t referring to you.

    2. Native Americans were given birthright citizenship in THE INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT OF 1924.

      There was no legislative change similarly granting birthright citizenship to babies born in the US to citizens of all other polities in the world.

      Anchor babies aint US citizens.

  32. The President is not amending the Constitution. He is questioning the current interpretation of the 14th amendment which permits the children of illegal immigrants born in the US to be used to help their parents remain in the country. When you have an industry develop that focuses on brining pregnant women into the US so their babies can be born here and therefore help their parents stay without going through the legal channels for immigration, there is a problem. Something has to be done and unlike Congress, who for years has done nothing but talk, at least the President is exploring every option. The issue is even more critical when you have three “caravans” of people headed to the southern border who have already stated their intent is to illegally enter the US.

  33. “…that presidents can’t, in fact, just sign executive orders to do away with parts of the Constitution or laws.”

    Again, Reason stoops to hyperbolic writing for credulous minds.

    The Constitution is interpreted by the courts, ultimately by the Supreme Court, in its necessary function deciding that legislation is not unconstitutional.

    How much legislation is there surrounding the Fourteenth? If Congress wished to alter any part of that legislation it wouldn’t be altering the amendment per se, simply the application of it in law, and if challenged that legislation would be adjudicated on in the courts. Trump using EO powers to alter the application of legislation regards the amendment is likewise not changing the amendment, only its application in law.

    And the courts will decide when his EO is inevitably challenged.

  34. How does a moron like Amish get into office? It’s NOT the wording of the 14th Amendment, or it’s intention, that’s wrong it’s it’s wrongful interpretation by unAmericans RATs that have forever counted on the easily brainwashed ignorant migrant to keep them in office.

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