Comprehending Trump’s View On Citizenship Iniye Mangibo
Maverick President Donald Trump of the United States of America (USA) is one man many Americans love to hate and hate to love. But since he assumed office, he has never concealed his affection for the men and women of his country and his aspiration to protect them and make life more complacent for them.
But his recent controversial declaration to extinguish birthright citizenship by executive order is unlikely to be seen as such as it has set on edge some Americans and non-Americans alike whose projections his orchestrated policy intends to cut short. But the question is, can the US president succeed in his quest to end birthright citizenship regardless of his good intention?
Birthright citizenship is a principle which states that every child born in the USA is unquestionably a native-born citizen of the country, regardless of the origin or immigration status of the parents. This policy was never in existence in the country until 1866 when the US Congress effected the 14th amendment to the Constitution to grant citizenship rights to persons born in the United States.
The amendment overturned an 1857 Supreme Court judgment which obviously denied African-Americans the right to be US citizens. The amendment reads thus: “All persons born or naturalised in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
But Trump’s attempt to override the aforementioned alteration to the Constitution with an executive order is hard to comprehend and can be associated with the crying of a child to have the moon in their hands. I don’t know of any country where an executive order takes precedence over a constitutional provision save for countries who are the most notable examples of a banana republic.
The US president has been justifying his proposed policy to firmly convince the world that it is in conformity with what obtains in other countries, or simply put, it accords with best practices. “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”, Trump said.
In furtherance of his immigration policy, the Trump administration is bending its considerable energy towards sending 5,000 strong troops to the US/Mexico border in anticipation of unauthorised mass movement of persons, raising of economic requirements for green card applicants and enforcement of a travel ban to stop asylum seekers to check illegal immigration.
While Trump’s birthright citizenship policy may seem unpopular and objectionable, I strongly take his point. According to a study by a US-based Pew Research Centre, about 275,000 babies were born to illegal immigrants in the US in 2014. This figure constitutes seven percent of the four million births in the country that year.
Given the growth rate of terrorism and other violent crimes globally, that figure is frightening and no president or leader of a country will be indifferent to this kind of development. If the growth rate remains unchecked, it may duplicate in the next few years and greatly endanger the safety of Americans.
What is more onerous is the fact that many of the children born in the US by such immigrants hardly live in the country beyond infancy. They are returned to their parents’ countries of origin to be thoroughly trained to resent America and its values, while at the same time they claim to be American citizens.
I believe that ending birthright citizenship in the US is a very important proposition that is not laced with xenophobia. Rather, it should be recognised as a move to protect Americans from ill-intentioned immigrants who, pretending to be true Americans, may overrun its population and eventually destroy it. In other words, birthright citizenship may, in the long run, categorically deny Americans their ‘Americanness’.
Over and above the foregoing, the yet-to-be-implemented policy will definitely keep back those who have no legitimate businesses to transact in the US and compel them to develop their own countries. Those Nigerians who are particularly involved in the reprehensible act of travelling abroad just to have their babies can have a rethink.