STOCKTON (CBS13) — President Donald Trump called the 14th Amendment ridiculous in a television documentary and said he plans to sign an executive order to challenge it. The 150-year-old constitutional standard states anyone born in America is an American citizen.
In an HBO documentary, Trump said he has talked with white house counsel about an executive order that will challenge birthright citizenship.
“How ridiculous, we are the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits, how ridiculous,” he said.
So, can the president change the law?
“Somebody could change our constitution, but the president cannot do this by executive order. The president’s power is to implement law, not to make law,” said Leslie Gielow-Jacobs, a professor at McGeorge School of Law.
Jacobs specializes in constitutional law. She said that although the president cannot change the 14th amendment all on his own, he can certainly try.
“He can say, ‘I am ordering the federal agencies, which are under my control, to understand the citizenship guarantee in the constitution in a different way than they have for 100 years or more,’” she said.
Community leaders say the president’s action would be a step back and would not help move the country forward.
“According to him, it’s an executive order, but that’s shows for us the hate,” said Luis Magana with the Project Voice of Immigrants.
Jacobs said amending the constitution would require supermajorities in the house and in the Senate, and ratification by three-fourths of the states. There could also be a constitutional convention that has to be approved by three-fourths of the states.
Jacobs also said the children of undocumented individuals would still have their citizenship under a separate clause.