Donald Trump Keeps Using Harry Reid to Justify His Own Effort to Repeal Birthright Citizenship, and Reid Just Clapped Back Hard
President Donald Trump in his quest to unilaterally repeal the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, thus ending birthright citizenship, is invoking the words of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to help make his case.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump said birthright citizenship is "unfair to our citizens" and "will be ended one way or another." We'll come back to the "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" later.
So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, w… https://t.co/TDGBLMUNAh— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1540992317.0
Shortly thereafter, the president, using Reid as a crutch, assailed Democrats for going "insane" for "open borders" while decrying the "nasty term" 'anchor babies' (a derogatory term for children of undocumented immigrants that members of his party love to throw around).
"I will keep our Country safe," Trump wrote. "This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!"
....Harry Reid was right in 1993, before he and the Democrats went insane and started with the Open Borders (which… https://t.co/JlXxWCIzXG— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1540995454.0
Trump then posted a video clip of Reid in 1993 speaking on the Senate floor about illegal immigration to help bolster his case.
Here's what Reid said:
"If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn't easy enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? 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, guaranteeing full access to all public and social services this society provides... and that's a lot of services. Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer-expensed county-run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?"
Harry Reid, when he was sane, agreed with us on Birthright Citizenship! https://t.co/ypiE1QWKag— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1541006367.0
Turns out, Reid doesn't agree with Trump in the least. Thus, Reid responded Wednesday afternoon with an epic takedown of Trump's attempt to twist his words.
"In 1993, around the time Donald Trump was gobbling up tax-free inheritance money from his wealthy father and driving several companies into bankruptcy, I made a mistake," Reid said in a statement. "After I proposed that awful bill, my wife Landry immediately sat me down and said, "Harry, what are you doing, don't you know that my father is an immigrant?" She set me straight."
Trump's take on Reid's Senate speech, the Democrat said, is just plain wrong.
"Immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation."
"And in my 36 years in Washington, there is no more valuable lesson I learned than the strength and power of immigrants and no issue I worked harder on than fixing our broken immigration system," Reid added. "I had the privilege of learning from heroes like Astrid Silva who came to this nation as a little girl and has emerged as a powerful leader. Immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation. They are our power and our strength. This president wants to destroy not build, to stoke hatred instead of unify. He can tweet whatever he wants while he sits around watching TV, but he is profoundly wrong."
Below is a clip of Reid admitting he was wrong and that his stance in 1993 was "the biggest mistake" of his life.
@realDonaldTrump Unlike some People! Harry Reid is actually capable of acknowledging a mistake and accepting accou… https://t.co/g92XOzdEns— Ryan Hill (@Ryan Hill)1541010854.0
The public remembers Reid's change of heart quite vividly.
@JungleGoldScott @realDonaldTrump The S.1351 Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 was NOT popular among Democrats… https://t.co/boY6iEmJLi— GrenMeera (@GrenMeera)1541010878.0
@RyanHillMI @realDonaldTrump Can anyone imagine tRump doing this, admitting to being in the wrong?! Senator Reid ha… https://t.co/yiBVwvhpOF— Cid White (@Cid White)1541015345.0
@realDonaldTrump And he’s since said several times that this was the biggest mistake of his life.— Christie (@Christie)1541013563.0
@realDonaldTrump That was in 1993 and he regretted it and changed his tune about it when he realized his wife was t… https://t.co/5YbCpjoNoD— Wanda (@Wanda)1541013421.0
@realDonaldTrump Harry Reid says that unlike you, who never admit mistakes, he not only admits this was wrong but learned from it.— Donna McMahon 🦃 (@Donna McMahon 🦃)1541012456.0
Twitter tore into Trump as well, with many wondering if he plans on revoking the citizenship of his children, four of whom (Ivanka, Junior, Eric, and Barron) were born to non-citizens (Ivana and First Lady Melania, respectively).
@realDonaldTrump Weird that when your kids with Ivana were born before she was a citizen , maybe they should be thr… https://t.co/NvRp4ckZrd— reluctantpolitico (@reluctantpolitico)1541010237.0
@NullmeyerSharon @realDonaldTrump Don't be silly. He's not talking about himself, or HIS family. Everyone knows they are above the law.— Arlene Ezra (@Arlene Ezra)1541012825.0
@realDonaldTrump Ivana Trump has three anchor babies that gained birthright citizenship. Sadly, Don Jr and Eric were born chinless...— Ned Pyle (@Ned Pyle)1541014935.0
@realDonaldTrump So you DO realize your first 3 children would not be US citizens if it weren't for Constitutional… https://t.co/eIl6SiMpzk— Angela (@Angela)1541011785.0
@realDonaldTrump Until you revoke the citizenship of @IvankaTrump @EricTrump and @DonaldJTrumpJr for this exact thi… https://t.co/fvNHbIxTJS— Boom Boom (@Boom Boom)1541015621.0
@realDonaldTrump https://t.co/vARnE5sbzE— Jim DePaolis (@Jim DePaolis)1541012728.0
Well, no, because Trump's wives' residency statuses were never in question, which brings us back to the question of "jurisdiction."
The 14th Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868. It reads: “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.”
The Supreme Court in 1898 ruled in United States v. Wong Kim Ark that anyone born in the United States, regardless of their parents’ immigration status, shall be granted American citizenship. This landmark decision has set a legal precedent for more than a century.
“The 14th Amendment’s citizenship guarantee is clear,” according to Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. “This is a transparent and blatantly unconstitutional attempt to sow division and fan the flames of anti-immigrant hatred in the days ahead of the midterms.”
But not everyone agrees.
John Eastman, a constitutional scholar and director of Chapman University’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, said the language of the 14th Amendment is key. He told Axios that “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” means citizenship only for people with green cards or legal residency.
If Trump does issue such an executive order, “the courts would have to weigh in in a way they haven’t,” Eastman said.
On the other hand, anyone within the United States, less those with diplomatic immunities, are subject to the laws and full under the "jurisdiction" of the United States, regardless of immigration status.
Trump cannot change the Constitution through an executive order, but the battle he's yearning to fight may only be beginning.