President Donald Trump says he will change federal law to remove citizenship for babies born inside the United States to non-U.S. citizens.
In an interview with Axios, the president said he plans to issue an executive order challenging how the 14th Amendment is applied to children of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Axios released a clip of the interview Tuesday, ahead of the news outlet's programming debut on HBO this weekend.
Such an order from Trump would be his most aggressive move yet to end what some call "anchor babies." It would also likely be challenged in federal court.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump told Axios. "You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."
Trump said he's planning the move after discussing it with White House counsel.
"With all of those benefits [of citizenship]. It's ridiculous," he said. "And it has to end."
The 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, grants citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States. It also guarantees citizens "equal protection" under U.S. law.
The amendment has been at the center of numerous Supreme Court decisions. Conservatives have argued the citizenship provision for children applies only to those born to legal U.S. citizens.
However, federal appellate Judge James C. Ho, appointed to the Circuit Court bench by Trump last year, strongly disagreed with that interpretation seven years ago.
"The plain meaning of this language is clear," Ho wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2011. "A foreign national living in the United States is 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof' because he is legally required to obey U.S. law."
"During congressional debates, both proponents and opponents of the citizenship clause agreed with this interpretation of the 14th Amendment," he added.
John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University's Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, told Axios he the 14th Amendment has been misapplied when it comes to babies born to undocumented migrants. He said Trump's executive order would force courts to settle the debate.
Trump's interview will air on HBO Sunday night.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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