Trump spoke from the Roosevelt Room of the White House
- The president spoke about illegal immigration in a White House speech
- Said he was 'finalizing a plan to end the rampant abuse of our asylum system'
- He said asylum seekers 'never show up' for trial
- He said caravan members were not 'legitimate asylum seekers'
- Anybody throwing stones, rocks ... we will consider that a firearm
FLASHBACK: Harry Reid's 1993 claim that 'no sane country' would provide birthright citizenship fuels GOP immigration push
Top Republicans are pointing to an impassioned 1993 speech by then-Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, in which the future Democratic Senate majority leader argued that "no sane country" would award citizenship to children of illegal immigrants born on its soil and promoted his own legislation to end the practice here.
President Trump ignited a national debate on the topic this week when, speaking to "Axios on HBO," he announced his intention to use an executive order to end birthright citizenship, which he called "ridiculous."
In his speech, Reid concurred, although he advocated passing a law to enact the change -- one that would grant citizenship only to the children of mothers in the U.S. legally.
"If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn't enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right?" Reid said. "Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee a full access to all public and social services this society provides. And that's a lot of services."
He continued: "Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer expense at country-run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?"
Reid reversed his position in 1999 and apologized for his stance, shortly after the union group AFL-CIO, which holds significant political sway nationally and in Nevada, changed its position to support birthright citizenship. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Reid has since called his speech "way up high" on his "list of mistakes," and in 2006 he referred to it as a "low point" of his legislative career.
Within hours of the clip surfacing, Republican leaders were quick to highlight Democrats' changing tune on immigration.
"Stopping the flow of illegal immigration used to be a bipartisan issue," GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel wrote on Twitter. "But the Democrat leaders of today want to abolish ICE and open our borders."
Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin reposted an article about Reid's speech.
In terms of giving unwitting political fodder for Republicans on immigration, Reid has some high-profile company. Earlier this month, President Trump gleefully quoted then-Sen. Barack Obama's comments in 2005, when he declared that "we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants into this country.” (Obama, in those comments, went on to advocate for providing some legal status for illegal immigrants.)
But not all Republicans are speaking with one voice after Trump's proposal. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., said Tuesday that Trump has no authority to use an executive order to unilaterally resolve the issue, which many legal experts say is controlled not only by the 14th Amendment, but also by the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) of 1952.
It might be possible, some conservatives argue, for a new law passed by Congress to revise the INA and still comport with the Constitution, 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."
Republicans are advancing the theory that illegal immigrants are not "subject to the jurisdiction" of the U.S. within the meaning of that provision, which would give Congress the legal daylight to pass a law codifying Trump's view.
"On substance, I believe President Trump is right on birthright citizenship — the 14th Amendment does not require it," wrote former U.S. Attorney Andrew McCarthy. "I do not believe, however, that the president may change the interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which has been in effect for decades, by executive order, as he is reportedly contemplating."
While the new 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court might seem sympathetic to the president's interpretation, the change would mark an apparent, abrupt departure from tradition -- and tradition is what then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh cited as a guiding principle when interpreting the Constitution.
What You Need To Know | Birthright Citizenship Needs To Go
It is time to follow other developed countries and get rid of the outdated and irresponsible practice of universal birthright citizenship.
Unrestricted birthright citizenship is a rapidly disappearing concept in the developed world.
· The only two developed countries worldwide that have unrestricted birthright citizenship are the U.S. and Canada.
· Many countries have gotten rid of their birthright citizenship, including Ireland in 2005 and France in 1993.
· No country in Europe or East Asia has a similar birthright citizenship policy.
America’s birthright citizenship guarantee is being taken advantage of by illegal immigrants and so-called “birth tourists.”
· In 2014, the Pew Research Center estimated that citizenship was granted to 275,000 babies born to illegal immigrants in 2014.
· Birth tourism, an industry that specializes in bringing pregnant mothers from foreign countries to U.S. in order to attain birthright citizenship, contributes about 36,000 births a year.
· In 2015, DHS raided a Southern California complex operating as a birth tourism hotel for Chinese mothers, some of which had paid up to $80,000 to have their babies born on U.S. soil.
· Just this year, NBC reported that a growing number of Russian women were coming here to take advantage of birthright citizenship.
· Last year, the WSJ reported that “for a certain class of Chinese parents, Saipan has become known as the latest hot spot for birth tourism, a place where women can give birth to babies who will automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.”
Legal scholars have argued that the 14th Amendment has been wrongly interpreted to defend birthright citizenship.
· John Eastman, the former Dean at Chapman University’s Fowlers Law School: “It is long past time to clarify that the 14th Amendment does not grant U.S. citizenship to the children of anyone just because they can manage to give birth on U.S. soil.”
· Peter Schuck, Professor of Law at Yale University: “The clause’s purpose was to guarantee citizenship for former slaves — a right Congress had enacted in 1866 — and to overrule the infamous Dred Scott decision, which had denied blacks citizenship and helped precipitate the Civil War. But the clause also excluded from birthright citizenship people who were not ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ This exclusion was primarily aimed at the American-born children of American Indians and foreign diplomats and soldiers, categories governed by other sovereign entities.”
Birthright citizenship is a drain on taxpayer dollars.
· Birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants costs taxpayers $2.4 billion per year according to an estimate from the Center for Immigration Studies.
COMPLIED BY THE RNC