The President’s Threat to Immigrant Dreams

Ashka Jhaveri

President Donald Trump wants to end birthright citizenship because it is, as he aggressively stated at a rally, a “crazy, lunatic policy.” What he calls crazy, many families call hope. The 14th Amendment has been part of our Constitution since 1868 and has since promised citizenship to all those who are born on US soil. The President stated to a room of reporters that he would be signing an executive order to initiate the process, which would threaten to unravel a fundamental aspect of American culture.

The President ignores the trials that families are put through in order to come to the US and instead focuses on deliberately attacking them and all policies that would ensure their children’s survival. There are people who believe in ending birthright citizenship because it is a threat to the strength and immigration standards of the country. To do this would be a massive cultural change from what has always been associated with being an American.

People in favor of ending birthright citizenship argue that undocumented immigrants are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the courts. However, in fear of coming off as xenophobic and racist, many conservatives have chosen to not fight this battle. Trump’s claim is a direct assault on unauthorized immigrants, most of whom have been here for 10 years or more. Even more so, it is a threat to the thousands of children who are already living here with undocumented parents. According to Dara Lind, a writer for Vox, “Restrictionists generally argue that the ability to give birth to a US citizen motivates people to come to the US illegally — but there’s simply no evidence that that’s true.”

Trump has been consistent with his beratement of undocumented immigrants since his campaign. Recently he sent 5,000 troops to the Mexican border, banned immigrants of eight Muslim and Latin American countries, and canceled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program which provided relief to almost 700,000 immigrants. He ended Temporary Protected Status for Haitian, Nicaraguan and Sudanese people which provides work authorization and protection from removal. He has cut down on the amount of refugees the country takes, marking the lowest intake rate since the creation of the program in 1980.

Trump is, however, wrong in his factual accuracy. He stated that an executive order could disband the 14th amendment from the constitution. His arrogance dictates this lie and proves how uneducated he is on how the political system works. An executive order would simply start the process of disbanding the amendment, but it would ultimately go to the Supreme Court.

Trump may have no legitimate power in the cast of reshaping the amendment, but to even mention ridding our country of this policy is a representation of the xenophobic mindset of the administration. His order would push this country back to a time when men like Dred Scott could not claim citizenship due to their physical and ethnic attributes. This form of intimidation to foreigners that is flowing out of the White House is blacklisting the United States as a xenophobic nightmare for anyone trying to enter the country. Trump’s delusion about an imminent threat to the country by those who are “stealing our jobs” and “disenfranchising this country” will hopefully never come to fruition, but it will still establish an overall sense of fear for immigrants and their children.