Tuesday on his radio program, LevinTV host Mark Levin spoke with Conservative Review senior editor Daniel Horowitz about birthright citizenship — and that President Donald Trump is entirely within his rights to interpret and enforce the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
Horowitz told Levin that President Trump has the authority to issue an executive order clarifying how the executive branch will interpret the 14th Amendment concerning the citizenship status of children born in the United States to illegal aliens. He said that those who say otherwise, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., are “constitutionally illiterate.”
“Let’s put this in plain English here,” Horowitz said. “Basically they’re saying, Mark, I could break into your home, kick down the door, drop a kid there, and he has the right to live there for the remainder of his life and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it.”
“The reality is that even if we agree to the notion of birthright citizenship … there is no way you could extrapolate that to people who came here without consent. The key words are ‘consent’ and ‘sovereignty.’ Nothing ever supersedes that. Nobody could unilaterally assert jurisdiction and make it that there’s nothing we can do to stop this,” he continued.
At Levin’s request, Horowitz explained how an executive order issued by Trump ending birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants would not be lawless because the order would be pursuant to law. It is not like Obama’s illegal DACA amnesty, which was an order contrary to law.
“For 130 years there’s an uninterrupted stream of case law, including cases written by the Wong Kim Ark justice, Horace Gray, saying that if you come here without consent and you do not have legal status, it is, in the most literal and physical sense, as if you are standing outside of our boundaries in terms of access to the courts, in terms of rights, in terms of everything,” Horowitz said. This means that the 14th Amendment does not grant citizenship to the children of illegal aliens.
Horowitz made the point that our modern concept of birthright citizenship came about not as the result of a court decision, not by an act of Congress, but by the executive branch’s lax enforcement of immigration law. Levin pointed out that if birthright citizenship is a bureaucratic creation, as the chief of the bureaucracy, President Trump has the right to correct years of extra-constitutional behavior by the executive branch.
“He’s not changing the Constitution by executive order. He’s not reinterpreting the Constitution by executive order. He’s getting the executive branch under control and saying, ‘This is what the 14th Amendment means,’” Levin said.
- “It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.
- When told that’s very much in dispute, Trump replied: “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”
Ever since Trump mentioned changing the 14th amendment, the media has been in a frenzy over it. I’ve read dozens of interpretations on what Trump can and cannot do, as you probably have too. I’m still not 100% sure I understand all the particulars of it, but this explanation/discussion makes the most sense of anything I’ve seen.
Trump is within his authority to tighten up enforcement of laws without actually changing the 14th amendment unconstitutionally. His legal advisers have been hard at work looking for various ways he can address this without having a lefty judge slap it down. If they missed a loophole, as we’ve seen happen before, then worst case scenario, this ends up in the hands of the Supreme Court and they’ll have the responsibility to clarify it.
Lindsey Graham has stated that after the election he will introduce legislation along the same lines, but it would take months to get a bill passed regarding this, if at all. Meanwhile, Trump is trying to legally address it now, before thousands more illegal immigrants hit our border.