United States President Donald Trump said foreign dictators could take advantage of birthright citizenship to make their children U.S. citizens.
“Many come from China, you might be surprised. China now is number one, we’re not just talking South America, Latin America, we’re talking about China, parts of Asia, it’s crazy,” the United States head of state said during a campaign.
However, the child of a foreign dignitary, born on U.S. soil, would not be granted U.S. citizenship under the 14th Amendment, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Trump commented further, erroneously, adding: “Think of it, you’re an enemy of our country, you’re a general with war on your mind, you’re a dictator who we hate and who’s against us, and that dictator has his wife have a baby on American soil. Congratulations, your son or daughter is now an American citizen. Does anybody think this makes sense?”
According to The Hill, the child of a foreign leader has never become a U.S. citizen through birthright citizenship.
“This policy has even created an entire industry, it’s called ‘birth tourism,’ where pregnant mothers travel from all over the world to America to make their children instant lifelong citizens with guaranteed everything, everything, everything that you have is guaranteed: welfare, public benefits, right? Birthright citizens, in turn, can then bring their entire extended family into the country through chain migration,” he said.
The U.S. president implied that he would move to strike birthright citizenship from the country’s constitution, using executive powers, violating the 14th Amendment which 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.”
The U.S. Supreme Court declared, in 1898, that “the 14th Amendment affirms the ancient and fundamental rule of citizenship by birth within the territory, in the allegiance and protection of the country, including all children here born of resident aliens.”
The principle was adopted from a colonial-era 17th-century English law.
The United Kingdom has since discarded the practice, now requiring that at least one parent of any child born in the United Kingdom be a citizen in order for the offspring to be so identified.
Commonwealth countries, including in Canada, Jamaica and Pakistan, and most countries Latin America maintains birthright citizenship.