Trump's Executive Order Ending Birthright Citizenship Is All About the Midterms

It will provide fresh applause lines for a series of campaign rallies planned in the next week. It might be good politics, but it's bad policy.



Donald Trump had been talking in vague terms about someday running for president for decades, but for all intents and purposes his political career began in March 17, 2011, with an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America.

From aboard his own personal plane, Trump Force One, the business mogul again floated the idea of running for president and, for the first time in public, voiced his support for a conspiracy theory alleging that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States—adding that those who believed the discredited idea should not be regarded as "idiots."

"Growing up no one knew him," Trump said of Obama. "The whole thing is very strange."

But no stranger than what's happened since then. Validating the goofy beliefs of one of the darkest corners of American conservatism was the first step for Trump on his road to the presidency. The residents of those dark corners took notice. Within months, Trump became the most vocal supporter of "birtherism," making multiple media appearances to openly question Obama's citizenship status. The facts weren't important—in fact, every attempt by the media to discredit Trump seemed to backfire, earning him a greater platform and more attention in conservative circles.

It's worth remembering that Trump dropped the charade after securing the Republican nomination. "President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period," Trump said in September 2016.

I don't know whether Trump ever seriously believed that Obama was not born in the United States. But from the perspective of 2018, it is difficult to view Trump's embrace of birtherism as anything other than a cynical move that provided him an entree into Republican Party politics and taught the would-be president a valuable lesson about how to impress GOP voters.

In the run-up to this year's midterms, Trump is putting those lessons into action. Tuesday's announcement that he would sign an executive order doing away with so-called "birthright citizenship" (the 14th Amendment's guarantee of American citizenship to any child born in the United States, with very limited exceptions) is the latest example.

"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump told Axios.

Guess what? You do. Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As both Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown and Damon Root have already covered, Trump doesn't have much of a legal foothold here—and the very judges that Trump has appointed to federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court are likely to disagree with Trump's notion that he can rewrite portions of the constitution with the stroke of a presidential pen (something that conservatives should be glad about).

But trying to game out whether courts would look favorably on Trump's executive order is giving the maneuver too much credit. This isn't a clever attempt at rewriting America's immigration laws. It's another charade meant to appeal to the most extreme anti-immigrant corner of the Republican electoral base—a faction that's much more mainstream than it was in 2011, in no small part because of the symbiotic relationship it has with Trump.

In some ways, Trump's attack on birthright citizenship actually goes farther than his embrace of birtherism. At least his skepticism toward the location of Obama's birth was a claim that, at its core, acknowledged the legitimacy of birthright citizenship. If Obama was born here, he was an American. Not even Trump disputes this any longer. But others born here, he now says, maybe aren't Americans, or shouldn't be allowed to be.

To be sure, Republicans have been talking about ending birthright citizenship since before Trump's presidency. Heck, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been talking about this since at least 2010. The minor difference is that Trump now provides the appearance of "doing" something about it—and Graham now says he plans to introduce a bill that would codify the Trump executive order.

The whole charade is ridiculous. It's exactly the same as Trump's oft-repeated claim that Congress would cut taxes by 10 percent before the midterms. As Reason's Peter Suderman explained last week, that is literally impossible because Congress won't be back in session until after the election (nevermind the fact that literally no one except Trump seems to be aware of any such plan).

Trump's no politician, but he's spent enough time around politics to know the importance of motivating voters—or at least of earning their applause at a rally, which is in some ways the same thing. His executive order about birthright citizenship will certainly provide fresh applause lines at a series of campaign rallies planned for key congressional and senatorial races over the next week. Those rallies might turn out more Republican voters and might help keep Republicans in control of Congress. The fact that this approach is likely to appeal to some Republican voters provides a convenient condemnation of contemporary conservativism.

Trump's executive order will likely be laughed out of court at some future date. Congress won't take up Graham's bill anytime soon. That doesn't matter right now. Like birtherism and phantom tax cuts, this is a political manuever—and it only needs to hold water for seven days.

NEXT: The Haunting of Hill House Is a Perfect Halloween Binge-Watch

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  1. OMFG with this shit.

  2. Ask yourself what Trump wants.

    He is negotiating to get what he wants. It rhymes with tall, Y’all.

      1. Pall Malls? Is this big tobacco again!!!

        1. Pall Malls are actually pronounced “Pell Mells.”

    1. Eastern European whores?

    2. LOL?

    3. How many people are dumb enough to believe a wall is to be built?

      Sure, the issue can lather the rubes, and there always are a few suckers who believe ‘rasslin is real, or faith healers are effective, or a small group of impoverished, desperate refugees hundreds of miles from the border constitutes a threat to the United States of America, but the idea that even an ostensible adult could genuinely believe America is going to build a wall seems daft.

      1. It is getting build you dummy.

      2. A lot of people think it’s getting built, despite ample evidence to the contrary (two years and the GOP hasn’t even pretended to favor the idea) and the fact that it’s a waste of money anyway.

    4. Negotiating with whom? The handsome playboy with fantastic hair staring back in the mirror?

  3. Trump’s no politician,

    He is just a guy who managed to get himself elected President. In other news, Eric will inform us that LeBron James is no basketball player.

      1. Because he still has an intact face and skull?


    1. i’m fine w/them taking this tack. makes it easier to continue to hate politicians but be entertained by T

      1. I find it a bit odd that Trump continues to hand people like Eric there asses and they continue to claim he is some idiot with no political skills. How do people live with that kind of cognitive dissonence?

        1. He’s not an idiot. He is a deft manipulator of half-educated, bigoted, superstitious rubes. Selling first-rate merchandise is relatively easy. It takes a skilled salesman to sell shoddy goods, even to gullible, downscale audiences.

          1. Yeah, it is everyone else who is stupid and uneducated. Keep telling yourself that pal.

            1. I bet Trump can close a tag on at least the third try…

        2. The same way Rev. Can’t close a Tag does, they are mentally ill.

        3. I find it a bit odd that Trump continues to hand people like Eric there asses and they continue to claim he is some idiot with no political skills. How do people live with that kind of cognitive dissonence?

          Drumpf got to where he is based on luck. He was lucky to be born into a rich family. He was lucky Putin personally ordered Russia to hack the election on his behalf. Lucky Comey sent that letter when he did. And lucky the media has been biased against Hillary Clinton for decades and magnified every one of her perceived flaws.

          His luck is about to run out though. Starting with next month’s #BlueTsunami.

          1. Yes, it was all luck. The same way that the economy sucked for 8 years under Obama. Just bad luck. Poor progressives, they just can’t catch a break.

            1. They had the easiest electoral win in a lifetime and shit the bed utterly.

              1. You mean their patented brand of condescension, contempt and ignorance didn’t play well with most of the country? Shocking.

                1. Give the Rev. credit, at least he runs the plays his side calls.

    2. He is just a guy who managed to get himself elected President…
      “…against one of the most hated political figures of all time” There’s dunking, and there’s dunking on 9 ft rims.

      The Democrats tried to use the press to push forward a smuck, and it backfired. He’s the Jesse Camp of politics, with a side of Republican voter confirmation bias. That’s not some claim to prowess, it’s a fucking glitch.

  4. Ask yourself what Trumps wants.

    He is negotiating to get that. It rhymes with tall, Y’all.

      1. Me too.

        Fall, small, ball, haul…

        These puzzles are maddening.

        I am galled by this.

        1. mall was incorrect.

    1. Something to grab?

      1. Something to hold the ladders up.

  5. The midterms is the most important election in American History.

  6. The power to send so many people spiraling with just words. It’s too much for one man.

  7. There was a saying — the best thing about Hillary winning was that Trump would lose, and the best thing about Trump winning was that Hillary would lose. Too many people forget that both are awful, and the Hillary-haters decided that hating Hillary was not enough, they had to pretend to love Trump. Whatever individualist principles they had have long flown the coop. They’ll gladly trade away my individual rights if it boosts Trump and keeps Occasional Cortex at bay.

  8. Trump is an ass but I’m wondering if someone can change my view that birthright citizenship is an anachronism left over from a time when it was physically difficult to travel to the US from other known population centers? I’m all for loosening the borders and allowing people to freely work and live where they want, which sort of diminishes the rights(i.e. freebies) that citizenship grants you, but conceptually I find the idea that you’re a citizen because your mother was physically present when she gave birth rather silly. I would gladly trade birthright citizenship for a better guest/guest worker process, or a simplification of the current process to becoming a citizen.

    1. The Senate is also an anachronism — can the President abolish that by Executive Order too?

      1. Well, unlike birthright citizenship, the existence of the Senate doesn’t have this huge loophole just screaming to be used.

        1. Neither does the 14th amendment. It is probably one of the clearest amendments in the constitution. People asserting otherwise are just plain stupid or dishonest.

  9. Gillespie said it best (from memory): “Trump’s critics take him literally but don’t take him seriously. Trump’s supporters take him seriously but don’t take him literally”.

    This is all about the midterms, of course. The swing vote came out for Trump last time. They aren’t the swing vote anymore. They’re Trump supporters now, and he needs every bit of their help to keep the Senate.

    That’s all it’s about.

  10. >>>It might be good politics, but it’s bad policy.

    good policy achieved by good politics sparse.

    1. +1

      Deregulation is one of the better things Trump has done, maybe the best.

      It’s hardly ever mentioned. I guess it doesn’t play well for good politics.

  11. Trump’s birthright citizenship gambit forces the Democrats to give even more support to illegal immigration, thereby firing up Trump’s base even more.

    Sort’a like the Democrats “Republicans will end coverage for pre-existing conditions” gambit, And “All those Republicans are anti-Semitic, homophobic, and racist in general”, gambit.

  12. Putin’s Puppet is getting desperate because he knows Democrats are going to win both the House and Senate. When the Democratic Congress is in session next year, Robert Mueller will present the findings of his exhaustive investigation. Ironclad proof of Russian collusion will result in Orange Hitler’s impeachment and removal from office.


    1. Collusion isn’t a crime.

    2. Putin wants to end birthright citizenship in the US?

      Remember when the tinfoil hat crowd on the Left and at Reason were all worried about Russians taking advantage of our birthright immigration laws?…..n-citizens

      1. I feel as if there are a lot of functionally retarded people nowadays. And that’s the most dangerous type of retarded

        1. What do you mean ‘nowadays?’ The Deomcratic party has been around for over 100 years!

    3. Could you kindly Youtube your meltdown when the Republicans take the Senate. And the House. And the courts. And Mueller finds the only Russian collusion was with the Democrats. You’d be famous when it goes viral 🙂

  13. “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump told Axios.

    Excuse me. They told you? Read it for yourself in the fucking Constitution! You did swear to “uphold and defend” it, so it might be worth some of your time. Is it tl;dr? The 14A is really short.

  14. He was right about Obama but for the wrong reason. Obama is not a natural born citizen because his father was a foreigner.
    Birthright citizenship is not enshrined in the 14th Amendment it is a misapplication of the verdict in the Wong Kim Ark case. Subject to the jurisdiction thereof does not mean territorial jurisdiction it means personal jurisdiction.

    1. So you’re saying that illegal immigrants aren’t subject to the jurisdiction of the United States? That’s a rather bold statement of open borders extremism, but if you’re willing to make the case I won’t judge you for it.

      1. Territorial of course.

      2. If that’s NOT what it means, why is that clause there? Why wouldn’t it just say “all persons born…” and leave it at that if they did not mean that it’s possible to be born here and NOT be eligible for citizenship? In fact, children of foreign visitors are born here all the time and never considered US citizens.

        1. If that’s NOT what it means, why is that clause there? Why wouldn’t it just say “all persons born…” and leave it at that if they did not mean that it’s possible to be born here and NOT be eligible for citizenship?

          ^ This. It seems pretty clear that it was written with the explicit intent of confirming that freed slaves are citizens of the US since they have no other nation to which they belong, but to also make it clear that this doesn’t mean that any child born of any foreign national is automatically a citizen. That Native Americans were exempted from birthright citizenship is telling – there was one specific group of people (i.e. freed slaves) who were being protected by the 14th Amendment.

        2. Children born in the US to non diplomat transient aliens ARE given birthright citizenship. There’s a whole industry that brings Chinese women to the US to have their kids just for that reason. Combine that with the mistaken belief that those children are also natural born citizens and therefore eligible to be the POTUS is why birthright citizenship needs to end.

          1. You think *that* is why it needs to end? I could give a shit if we removed the requirement for natural born citizenship. We globally recruit all sorts of talented people. Why not outsource the presidency? It’s not like they could do a *worse* job than the last few losers.

            1. Because the POTUS is the CIC of the armed forces.

        3. It was put in solely for the children of diplomats. Diplomats are the only people present in the united states who are not subject to its jurisdiction, meaning they cannot be made subject to its laws. Because illegal immigrants are most definitely subject to the laws of the united states, they are by definition subject to its jurisdiction. There is no ambiguity.

      3. So you’re saying that illegal immigrants aren’t subject to the jurisdiction of the United States?

        The salient distinction I have heard is not whether or not you have to obey the laws of the United States while you are here, it’s about whether you owe allegiance to a government or power other than the United States. This is why birthright citizenship was applied to Wong Kim Ark (whose parents were legal residents but not citizens) by the court, but had to be applied to Native Americans by statute. The 14th Amendment was originally understood not to include Native Americans, since their allegiance was to their tribe/nation, and not the US.

        A good conceptual test is not “do you have to follow US law when you are in the US” but “can you be tried for treason.” A couple visiting from China for the weekend who blow up a government office can be charged with all kinds of crimes, but treason is not one of them.

        So you might say, in the end, that if you are not someone who can be charged with treason under US law, then “birthright citizenship” does not apply to your children whether they are born in the US or not.

        1. That is most definitely NOT what “subject to the jurisdiction of” means. You are simply making up a new definition and disregarding all original intent and the manner in which the U.S. government has used it and continues to use it. It was not applied to Amerindians in the same exact fashion because there are signed treaties that explicitly exempt them from certain aspects of that jurisdiction. In other words, Amerindians are a special case due to treaties. Similarly, diplomats are exempted because of treaties as well. They are not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S., because the U.S. has signed treaties promising they will exempt them. All others present in the U.S., regardless of anything to do with “treason”, are subject to the jurisidiction of the U.S. government. It is very clear.

    2. birthright citizenship is what the 14th amendment explicitly enshrines, both literally and in original intent. You are really grasping at straws here.

  15. I’m puzzled as to why anyone thinks the Constitution has any relevance. Nearly everything the government does is unconstitutional, so why would anyone think that it would suddenly matter to this _particular_ executive order when it hasn’t mattered for any of the other ones?

    1. I made this point to Ken the Lesser and all he had to say was “that is not how it is done” despite it being done exactly like that all the time every day. I truly don’t understand how people keep confusing what “is” with what they “want to be.”

  16. It’s not good politics. Like the majority of everybody supports birthright citizenship. The 20% of the population who wants to get rid of it were all already voting. He just handed Democrats the House and maybe the Senate.

    1. “The most recent survey on this question, conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal and published in October 2017, found that 53% of respondents thought that “we should continue to grant citizenship to all children born in the U.S.”; 42% opined that this should be changed so that “children of illegal immigrants are not automatically granted citizenship.”

      20=42 I guess

      1. Math is racist.

    2. It’s bad politics. Agreed. But, the Senate is safe

  17. “Guess what? You do.”

    Nope. Still waiting for Reason to seriously engage with the Constitutional issue.

  18. Michael Malice (who has original thoughts) actually said that eliminating birthright citizenship may actually undermine the argument against more immigration as the threat of importing voters would no longer be a viable talking point so much.

    But, if your big concern is in fact importing voters, I can see why you don’t really care that such a concession could actually liberalize immigration (even more so, considering that the US still has the most liberal immigration policies in the world).

    1. The arguments against ILLEGAL immigration would still be equally valid.

      1. Don’t you think illegal immigration would cease to be a major issue if you increase the number of legal immigrants allowed in from Mexico and then eliminate the incentive of birth right citizenship? I think the only illegal migrants you’ll have then are those who cannot legal immigrate here due to a criminal background

        1. No. Increasing legal immigration and making the process easier would help, but there will always be large numbers of people ineligible for legal immigration who want to come here, and plenty of Americans eager to exploit them. Eliminating birthright citizenship would have some effect, both on illegal immigration and on public opinion about immigration. Another thing that is badly needed is a legal and orderly way for Mexicans and Central Americans to come here for work. A lot of “immigrants” don’t really want to leave their home countries permanently, and would prefer to be able to come and go from the US as they need to for employment. If they weren’t trapped here by the dangers of crossing the border illegally, they wouldn’t want to emigrate permanently.

    2. eliminating birthright citizenship may actually undermine the argument against more immigration as the threat of importing voters would no longer be a viable talking point so much

      Personally, my concern is that the way the US was conceived, at least by some of the framers, was as a government that would serve primarily, maybe even exclusively, to safeguard already-existing human rights. More and more, especially since 9/11, but really since the New Deal, there is this notion of “American Rights” rather that “Human Rights” such that only American citizens get things like free speech, fair and speedy trials, freedom from unreasonable search-and-seizure, etc.

      The only reason immigration and citizenship are issues is that citizenship has transformed into a system of enshrined privileges like ancient Roman citizenship was, and if we do away with birthright citizenship and allow more immigration of people who aren’t considered as having the same rights as citizens, then we are opening the door to the creation of a permanent underclass of non-citizens that’s going to more and more start to resemble Roman forms of slavery.

      1. allow more immigration of people who aren’t considered as having the same rights as citizens

        But the only people who don’t have the same rights are those who come here in spite of the fact that we do NOT allow them to. LEGAL resident aliens DO have the rights you mentioned to the same extent that citizens do.

      2. The squirrels swallowed my response Square.

        So, real quick, I don’t disagree with your premise (although I despise the term “human rights” which is often used to justify overseas intervention and nonsense that has nothing to do with natural rights), but I think you accidently hit on why immigration has become so fraught in the Western world.

        There is very little difference in rights between a citizen and a legal permanent resident in most of the West now. Despite what immigration restrictionists fear, most immigrants aren’t becoming citizens or waiting decades before deciding to do so.

        And the notion of a two-tiered society already exists, though, due to illegal immigration. This is often the argument made by immigration restrictionists and I think it’s more persuasive then the idea that ending birthright citizenship would create this scenario, primarily because there are no major additional advantages of being a citizen (don’t come at me with voting).

  19. It should go without saying that this is indeed a pure political stunt, and one that does indeed smell of desperation. The Republicans are tanking, hard, desperately pulling their money from erstwhile “tossups” into erstwhile “safe” races; the Democrats, now possessed of the full and unhedged support of the most powerful and wealthy demographics and subcultures (not to mention the most rapidly expanding) instead of the regional, shrinking, monoracial, and economically stagnating base of the Republicans, are positively swimming in several times their money (and will remain so for the future); and the Kavanaugh-caravan momentum has been stopped cold, as the two domestic terror incidents have given the media all the license they need to displace those subjects with a permanent focus on their favorite topics of “guns and hatred” and how Trump brought both into our fair Eden. (All this hand-wringing since Sandy Hook about how each “mass shooting” only temporarily energizes the gun grabbers and lead to a brief shift in public opinion? Well good news that’s all they need this time! The timing of these events has been impeccable! The angry soccer moms are turning out in full force as we speak.)

    The real issue is why we should be doing so much repeated hand-wringing about this EO’s stuntiness, given how obvious it is. Trump has a flair for the theatrics? Hold the presses!

    1. regional, shrinking, monoracial, and economically stagnating

      …and aging. Forgot to add rapidly aging. Their numbers are certainly not being replenished by Generation Snowflake.

    2. Agreed that it’s politics, but I think bad politics. Democrats were always favored to take the House and that’s not going to change. And, yes, Democrats are primarily a party of upper class whites, so naturally they have a financial advantage. I’m not sure if the momentum has shifted enough to give Democrats a commanding majority in the House, though. I think they still take it with a slim majority and Republicans gain seats in the Senate, which I think is a result of the inherent inability of Democrats to appeal to anyone beyond upper income whites (which they are unwilling to address).

      But this executive order does not help Trump politically. I think the caravan helps Republicans politically and that’s why outlets have stopped talking about it and have pretended as if Trump invented the caravan. But, I also think Trump is dumb enough to think this executive order helps him politically. I think most Americans are fine with birthright citizenship.

      1. I think it’s designed to rile up his base, he thinks it will help. It won’t hurt. But it won’t do much.


        It’s really only designed to catch the attention of the media and their outrage engine. It’s so outrageous in their minds that they won’t be able to resist it. Oh, many will actually note his real game–that it is at least as designed to distract the media and lure them into bumping Squirrel Hill from its total monopoly of the news cycle, as it is to rile up the base per se. It doesn’t matter if they point that out or not. His manipulation of them has not been made any less successful, just because they are aware of it and point it out.

        Nobody really gives a shit about birthright citizenship; it will not get anyone to the polls. But mass shootings bring Ms. May-I-Speak-With-Your-Manager there sure as fuck.

        State borders will remain convenient for the Republicans likely forever; not in my most pessimistic moments have I ever doubted they will pick up seats in the Senate, which will remain a most-of-the-time bullwark as long as they remain a party, even though 2020 may be the last Presidential election they win. May God help us whenever they are unlucky enough to lose that in a bad year, because the Democrats will be holding the House and Oval Office and will legislate their agenda with a vengeance.

        1. …Losing the Arizona and Florida Senate seats, and (even more surely) the Georgia and Florida governorships to far-left “unwinnable” candidates, hardly bodes well for the present and future of the GOP at the statewide level. But they will hold on OK for now.

          1. I think you’re a little hyperbolic, Diego. That’s my schtick!

            Seriously, though, I don’t know if the coalition of the ascendant is real, because most polls show that it isn’t. If anything Hispanics are trending more Republican again than Democrat.

            1. And as long as Republicans keep the Senate, I don’t care. It’s preferable to have Democrats in the House. Divided government will mean nothing is done, which is the best government.

              Republicans are only good for cutting taxes and nominating judges. And they already cut taxes.

          2. Let’s see what actually happens in the elections first. And beyond that, even if that were to happen, they would still hold an enormous advantage in elected officials in this country. Losing a couple of Senate seats in a midterm election where historically the party in power is supposed to lose seats is hardly as significant as you pretend.

            1. Republicans are lords of every uneducated, economically inadequate, superstitious, can’t-keep-up hamlet in rural and southern America. Where Americans are successful, skilled, modern, and educated, however, Republicans falter.

              You figure being Kings of the Goobers will will conservatives reverse the course of a half-century of liberal-libertarian progress in America?

              1. It must be so difficult for you to go through life too stupid to understand what is going on around you.

                1. You guys should enjoy this while you can.

                  In a couple of years, Trump will go back to being a silver-spooned grifter with ridiculous hair and another ex-wife and his supporters will resume their role as the inconsequential, disaffected people on the wrong end of bright flight.

                  Except that Trump will be susceptible to indictment and his supporters may face a harder plow because their bigotry might make other Americans less charitable toward the can’t-keep-up backwaters.

                  1. You really should have laid off those paint chips when you were growing up Rev.

        2. I had pointed out months ago (in response to one of Ken’s posts about how many seats the GOP should be expected to lose) that if we look at a distribution of the number of seats lost/gained since ~1900 we should expect the GOP to lose over 60 seats. The fact that they may only lose ~20-30 is a pretty significant sign.

          I still hope they find a way to hold the House, but I don’t really think that was ever in the cards.

  20. Trump’s Executive Order Ending Birthright Citizenship Is All About the Midterms

    but 7,000 people south of the border spontaneously and organically decided to hold hands and skip optimistically toward a promising new life in the north, briefly stopping every so often to burn their few, meager possessions for warmth (which just happened to include US flags)

    1. Notice that none of the geniuses at reason can seem to explain why this is unconsitutional. It just is. They know it.

      1. It certainly seems like something about which there is a debate to be had.

        1. We don’t know what natural born Citizen means either.

      2. Let’s be honest John, it will be ruled unconstitutional. Because the courts don’t care about the law, they care about their feelings. The justices will look at this, and say “yeah, the law says that, but if we rule on it in that way it will mean millions of people will be forced out of the country, and I don’t want that”

        1. Even if you agree with the intent of Trump, do you really want to set the precedent that the president can use an EO to simply supercede the constitution? What is to stop a president bernie sanders or elizabeth warren from simply reinterpreting the first or second or fourth amendement by EO as well? I just don’t understand why ostensibly libertarian people are so ready to throw power at a politician when it is clear that such power will eventually be used to control them.

  21. The whole charade is ridiculous.

    The. Whole. Charade.

  22. this is a political manuever

    That’s apparent to most people. No need to get your panties in a twist.

  23. All his redneck moron supporters can talk about is the fucking Caravan of Typhoid. You can’t say his stupid bullshit doesn’t stick when he vomits it into their ears. Good thing he seems to be listening to political strategists about as much as he listens to anyone else.

    1. Yeah Tony, immigrants are sacred and could never have any communicable diseases. Doens’t he fucking love science like you do?

      1. A duty to help poor, sick refugees might be considered sacred. It is by the founder of the religion you used to belong to before Trump came along and you decided to go with something stupider.

        If you’re afraid of catching something from these people, you are a sad victim of the Trump bullshit cycle. Sure, an inherent measure of racism is always there with you people, but mostly Trump just tells you what to believe and you follow suit like so many trained seals.

        1. Yes Tony. It is totally our duty to rob people in this country and use the money to “help poor immigrants”. Whatever you do Tony, don’t ever do anything yourself. Make sure that you insist that the government steal from others and use their money to do all fo these wonderful things you want.

          You are just that kind of a caring guy.

          1. Whereas the jackbooted thugs you want rounding these people up and putting them in cages, not to mention the fucking Wall, cost nothing.

        2. “A duty to help poor, sick refugees might be considered sacred.”

          Ah, the good ole white man’s burden

  24. Guess what: He’s got more of a legal foothold than a lot of rulings you like.

    1. An entire Amendment to the Constitution (the 14th) is against him. He has no legal foothold.

  25. It was a sad, lonely, unwanted dotard who visited Pittsburgh today. All four Congressional leaders — McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi, Ryan — declined invitations to be at his side during a tone-deaf tour of Squirrel Hill and Oakland. The mayor, county executive, and governor — all of whom are in Pittsburgh — rejected his invitation, too, as did family members of the victims being buried today. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey also refused to be seen with Pres. Trump today.

    Melania accompanied her husband today, however. At this point, it seems fair to overlook all of her personal failures and inadequacies and feel sorry for the poor woman.

    1. What did her jacket say this time?

      1. It apparently said ‘why wear dark clothing to a day of funerals for Jews? I choose a sporty plaid because I’m still rich, indolent, and tone-deaf!’

        I’m not kidding. Check the photographs. The dumb bitch is wearing plaid.

        1. “The dumb bitch is wearing plaid.”

          Democrats are the real sexists.

          1. and republicans are the new SJWs apparently, lol

        2. “The dumb bitch is wearing plaid.”

          Democrats are the real sexists.

        3. It’s really weird that anyone cares if she wore grey plaid, or “dark clothing”, but even more strange that you didn’t notice that the plaid was an overcoat, and she wore an all-black long-sleeved outfit.

          I mean, if she’d worn bright pink, or something, sure, that might stand out. But this is some strange obsession you’ve got there Rev.

          1. The gray plaid was OK, it was the “I don’t care about Jews, do U?” painted on the back is what might have been a bit lacking in taste.

  26. He’s spent enough time around politics aquariums to know the importance of motivating voters seals ?or at least of earning their applause at a rally


  27. Well if this is all about riling up the base, then I guess we should expect to hear more about the “Muslim ban” at one of Trump’s upcoming rallies. We haven’t heard about that one in a while, and that also plays well with his Islamophobic base. Surely we’ll also hear more about the whole “Mexicans are rapists” crap too.

  28. BTW, people born in American Samoa are not citizens but nationals.

  29. “…he (Trump) deserves to be laughed out of court.” 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.

  30. Consider this, if not for birthright citizenship Obama wouldn’t be a citizen. His mother was too young to confer citizenship and his father was a foreigner.

    1. His mother was too young to confer citizenship

      No such thing. His mother was a citizen, so Obama is.

      1. In ’61 you have to reside in the US for 5 years past the age of 14 to confer citizenship. Look it up.

        1. Since he was born in Hawaii, the statute you are citing does not apply.

          1. This. He was born in the US to a US citizen parent. The law regarding births in foreign countries is irrelevant.

      2. Yeah, I don’t like Obama, but I think you are completely misunderstanding the words you think you understand. His mother was an American citizen, right? And she gave birth in the US? That should confer citizenship, even if this is ruled constitutional.

    2. OK, considered. So he’s still a citizen. Your point?

      And his mother did not have to “confer citizenship.” The 14th Amendment does that.

      1. Did you not see the part of my comment that says “if not for birthright citizenship”? In other words IF the 14th did not confer citizenship.

        1. Wrong. Obama was born to a US citizen in the US, so he was born a citizen. Birthright citizenship confers citizenship on those who are born in the US to alien parents. It’s irrelevant to Obama’s citizenship.

  31. Well, he sure knows how to drive away the moderates. Of course, that seems to be the modus operandi of the Republicans nowadays. Good luck winning without the swing voters!

  32. Depending on the content of the order, it’s possible that such an order would be an impeachable offense. But so many folks have TDS that it would be impossible to have a conversation about this.

    1. All he has to do is declare that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means not owing allegiance to another country. Then the SC decides what it means.

    2. This might be the most idiotic comment on Reason this week.

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  34. Or invading foreign troops? Could someone breaking into our country be considered as invading our country with intent to do harm ( stealing from the American taxpayer )? Sounds like the same thing foreign troops would do soooo……

    1. No. There is an explicit definition under U.S. and international law describing what “foreign troops” are. They are treated differently than non-military actors. This allows us to prosecute non-military actors for criminal acts. To warp the law to include such a ridiculous definition would be absurd, not even accounting for the spurious assumption that all illegal immigrants will “steal from the american tax payer”. The majority that I have known have had the U.S. taxpayer steal from them through taxes, not the other way around.

  35. Eric, you misrepresent how this issue came to public attention. President Trump did not initiate the discussion; reporters asked him about it. Trump expressed surprise that they knew about the internal deliberations in the White House on this issue. That fact puts a dent in your claim that he is pushing it just as a red meat issue for the election next week.

    Also, the legal question is not an open and shut case. Have you done any research on it?

  36. Not just an election ploy. He is forcing the issue knowing it will be challenged. We will get a Supreme Court ruling on the issue that has never been settled. That will be the end of it because we know it will never be taken up by congress. Trump is betting he wins if he doesn’t we are at the same place we are now. Nothing for him to lose and thankfully it will end the debate.

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