Former president Donald Trump made a rare live appearance on CNN, the network he spent years denouncing while in the White House


  • Trump said he would seek to end birthright citizenship via executive order if elected to a second term
  • He claimed it would make potential immigrants think twice about coming illegally to the U.S.
  • Trump falsely claimed in 2018 that the U.S. is the "only" country in the world with birthright citizenship

Former President Donald Trump vowed in a campaign video launched Tuesday that he would seek to usurp the 14th Amendment and end birthright citizenship via executive order on his first day back in office.

The 14th Amendment guarantees that "all persons born" in the United States "are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." In his new video, Trump promised to issue an executive order altering the interpretation of the 14th Amendment and blocking children of undocumented immigrants from automatically becoming U.S. citizens if elected to a second term in 2024.

"As part of my plan to secure the border on Day 1, I will sign an executive order making clear to federal agencies that under the correct interpretation of the law, going forward the future children of illegal aliens will not receive automatic U.S. citizenship," the Republican frontrunner for the 2024 presidential nomination said.

The real estate mogul claimed that the amendment was based on a "historical myth and a willful misinterpretation of the law by open-border advocates."

"Even though these millions of illegal border-crossers have entered this country unlawfully, all of their future children will become automatic U.S. citizens, can you imagine?" he said.

He attempted to justify his plan by saying it would deter potential future migrants from crossing the border and cause existing undocumented ones to immediately flee the country.

The proposal is something that Trump had toyed with while in office, echoing the sentiments of immigration restrictionists and earning intense criticism from immigration advocates and legal experts.

In 2018, Trump made a false claim during an interview with Axios that the U.S. is the "only" country in the world to have birthright citizenship. The following year, he said in a campaign rally that he was "very seriously" looking into ending the policy, according to CNN, but his plan never became reality.

Legal experts agree that a president doesn't have the power to unilaterally revoke birthright citizenship through executive order as the practice is enshrined in the Constitution, The Hill reported.

The widely accepted interpretation of the 14th Amendment is that it applies to children born in the U.S. regardless of the parents' immigration status. This interpretation has held since a Supreme Court ruling in 1898 involving a U.S. citizen whose parents are Chinese.

The amendment was borne out of the civil war and is meant to guarantee equal rights for former slaves, but immigration restrictionists believe it doesn't include children of undocumented immigrants and other groups.

"As members of the Reconstruction Congress explained in 1866, the narrow exception to birthright citizenship applied only to the children of diplomats and those born into Native American tribes, who were under the 'jurisdiction' of a separate sovereign and did not need to comply with all U.S. laws," University of Virginia law professor Amanda Frost wrote in her book, "You Are Not American: Citizenship Stripping From Dred Scott to the Dreamers," according to The Hill.

Frost continued, "In contrast, immigrants and their children living in the United States were and are required to follow all federal and state laws or face criminal and civil penalties and so are fully 'subject' to the nation's 'jurisdiction.'"

Trump's hardline crackdown on immigration and border enforcement is in keeping with his policies while in office, when he tried to construct a border wall, implemented the pandemic-era Title 42 policy, and attempted to cut the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Donald Trump, who is trying to come back to power in 2024, is encouraging Republicans not to make concessions on the debt ceiling