The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” writes the Library of Congress.
According to The Washington Post, Birthright Citizenship is the idea, introduced in the 14th Amendment, that people born on American soil are automatically American citizens.
Recently, Donald Trump said to Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet The Press that he wants to end Birthright Citizenship.
But is that constitutional?
The Post points out that Wonkblog’s Max Ehrenfreund claims there are probably only two ways that the practice could be overturned.
The first would be to somehow persuade the Supreme Court to overturn the 1898 ruling, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, which established how the 14th Amendment would be enforced. The first clause in the amendment states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”
Ratified in 1868, the clause was meant to ensure that freed slaves were considered American citizens. Wong was born in San Francisco to Chinese parents, which the court ruled was sufficient to make him a citizen.
However, the Supreme Court is hard to steer, as many presidents have learned. That has left one alternative recourse for Trump or any other person hoping to end birthright citizenship: a Constitutional amendment, which is also difficult.
The Washington Post:
“Amending the Constitution is notoriously hard, which is why it has happened only 27 times in American history — 10 of which were passed en masse when our country was founded. It requires either 1) two-thirds approval in the House and Senate, followed by ratification of three-quarters of the states, or 2) the development of amendments at a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the states and then ratified by three-quarters. Only the former method has been used.”