United States President Donald Trump has recently said that he is planning to sign an executive order ending the birthright citizenship provision in the country.
“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Mr. Trump said to ‘Axios on HBO’, a documentary series, clips of which have been released. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he said.
However, Mr. Trump is factually incorrect that the U.S. is the only country in the world with birthright citizenship laws. Around 30 countries have the provision of birthright citizenship or jus soli.
Mr. Trump said he has consulted his counsel on this and plans to proceed with the executive order.
However, it is not clear whether the President has the legal authority to effect such a broad legal change through an executive order. Consequently, there are high chances that the order may face legal challenges.
The concept of jus soli i.e. right of the soil is the automatic conferral of U.S. citizenship on any individual born in the country. The concept was introduced in the U.S. Constitution by the 14th Amendment, enacted in 1868 after the Civil War, in order to grant rights to former slaves. It states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
Therefore, individuals born in the U.S., to parents on temporary visas or here without a valid visa, are also U.S. citizens on the basis of jus soli.