Trump-O-Meter

End birthright citizenship

"End birthright citizenship."


PolitiFact is tracking the promises of President Donald Trump. See them all at PolitiFact.com.

Updates

House bill introduced to end birthright citizenship

Donald Trump as a presidential candidate considered the end of birthright citizenship one way to improve immigration and "make America great again."

An immigration reform plan posted on Trump's campaign website says birthright citizenship "remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it's the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said 'no sane country' would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants."

In an August 2015 interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, Trump affirmed his position to eliminate birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to parents living here illegally. He said it may take two terms to fulfill this proposal.

There is a lot of debate on who should have U.S. citizenship at birth and the legal hurdles to change that provision, which is outlined in the 14th Amendment.

But we haven't seen Trump, or his team, raise this issue publicly since taking office Jan. 20, 2017.

Jeff Sessions in his Senate confirmation hearing for attorney general was asked if he believed there should be more requirements to become a U.S. citizen, other than being born in the United States. He said he would leave it up to Congress to decide.

"I would be focusing my attention on enforcing the laws that exist and I guess it would be Congress' duty to wrestle with whether to change it or not," Sessions said Jan. 10, 2017.

Rep. Steven King, R-Iowa, introduced a bill Jan. 3, 2017, to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act so that an individual born in the United States becomes a citizen at birth if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or immigrant in active service in the U.S. armed forces.

The bill was referred on Jan. 23 to the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and has 22 Republican co-sponsors.

A recent executive branch hire has fueled speculation that Trump is still interested in this issue. CNN reported in April that Jon Feere joined the administration as an adviser to Thomas D. Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement.

Feere has questioned the practice of granting U.S. citizenship to children born to parents in the country illegally. He used to be a legal policy analyst for Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stricter immigration policies. In August 2015, Feere contributed an article to The Hill headlined "How Trump could change birthright citizenship."

"There are two ways a president could attempt to narrow the scope of the Citizenship Clause: get Congress to write legislation or take executive action," Feere wrote.

While Trump has not been publicly vocal about this issue since becoming president, there is a bill in the House to advance this proposal. We rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Donald Trump campaign website, Immigration reform plan

CNN, Transcript, Early Start, Aug. 20, 2015

PolitiFact, Rand Paul says legality of birthright citizenship not fully adjudicated due to facts of 1898 case, Sept. 18, 2015

PolitiFact Texas, Ted Cruz says it's always been that babies born to U.S. citizens abroad are citizens from birth, Sept. 4, 2015

Congress.gov, H.R.140 - Birthright Citizenship Act of 2017, introduced Jan. 3, 2017

CNN, Hard-line anti-illegal immigration advocates hired at 2 federal agencies, April 12, 2017

Center for Immigration Studies, Birthright Citizenship in the United States: A Global Comparison, August 2010

The Hill, How Trump could change birthright citizenship, Aug. 21, 2015