Politics

Trump Rips Ryan Over Birthright Citizenship ‘Opinions,’ Recommends He Focus on Midterms

POTUS rebuked House speaker for panning executive order proposal

President Donald Trump urged outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday to focus on “holding the majority” in Congress less than a week before the midterm elections — instead of criticizing Trump’s plans to end birthright citizenship for children born to non-U.S. citizens on American soil.

“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!” Trump tweeted.

“Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!” he added.

Trump caused a meltdown among liberals — and even some conservatives — on Tuesday when he told Axios in an interview that he’s weighing whether to issue an executive order. It would deny automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants, tourists and foreigners without tangible connections to this country who happen to be born on U.S. soil.

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The news of Trump’s intentions broke as the nation continues to debate how to prevent and deal with the Central American migrant caravan heading north to the U.S. through Mexico.

Immigration enforcement, building Trump’s signature border wall, and figuring out how to deal with illegal immigrants already in the U.S. have been major hot-button issues ahead of the contentious November 6 midterm elections.

Ryan told Kentucky radio station WVLK on Tuesday that Trump “obviously” could not “end birthright citizenship with an executive order,” remarks that came after Trump said that he has thought about trying to do just that.

“As a conservative, I’m a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear,” Ryan added.

The 14th Amendment, Section 1, 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

But some constitutional and legal scholars have argued that denying birthright citizenship to the groups of people Trump is considering wouldn’t violate the Constitution at all.

“There’s actually two requirements for automatic citizenship: You’ve got to be born on U.S. soil, and you have to be subject to the jurisdiction,” Professor John Eastman told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“And [Democrats] just read that last clause out of the Constitution as if it’s not there, or as if it means the same thing as being physically present here.”

Eastman, the Henry Salvatori professor of law and community service and former dean at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law, also served as the founding director of the Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.

Related: Trump ‘Wants to Get the Constitution Right’ by Tackling Birthright Citizenship

“But for those that ratified, those that drafted that language, it meant subject to the complete jurisdiction — not subject to allegiance to any foreign power. That’s what mandates birthright citizenship,” Eastman added. “And President Trump’s executive order just wants to get the Constitution right.”

Although former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes birthright citizenship should be clarified as Trump wants, he urged the president to let Congress pass a law to do so — instead of issuing his own executive order.

“I think a lot of it depends on how it goes up to the Supreme Court, Laura,” McCarthy told Ingraham. “If this goes up to the Supreme Court as an executive order, we lose. If it goes up to the Supreme Court as a statute, at least there’s a chance.”

Although Ryan panned Trump’s birthright citizenship plans, he insisted Tuesday that he and the president still share common ground on immigration enforcement and border security.

“Where we obviously totally agree with the president is getting at the root issue here, which is unchecked illegal immigration. We — House Republicans and this president — are in total agreement on the need to stop illegal immigration, to secure our border and fix our laws,” Ryan said.

Republicans are facing an uphill battle in retaining control of the House, although keeping the Senate majority looks promising, according to recent polls.

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