During his speech at a campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday, where he urged people to vote for Republican Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial hopeful Ron DeSantis, President Donald Trump heavily criticized the “birthright citizenship” policy upheld by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and blamed it for the rise in “birth tourism” in the country.

The section one of the 14th Amendment clearly stated, “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.”

However, Trump called the Amendment — established in 1868, after the close of the Civil War, settling the question of the citizenship of former African-American slaves born in the U.S. who were freed at the time — a “crazy policy” at the rally.

“They are all made instantly eligible for every benefit… at a cost of billions of dollars per year,” he said, adding that the policy “has created an entire industry of ‘birth tourism.’”

According to World Wide Surrogacy, a gestational surrogacy firm founded by reproductive lawyer Victoria T. Ferrara, “When a pregnant mother comes from another country with the intent to give birth in the U.S. in order to secure U.S. citizenship for her future child, it is popularly known as ‘birth tourism.’ These mothers enter the U.S under the guise of traveling for pleasure, but they have the sole intent of giving birth while they are here.”

Another term that is closely associated with “birth tourism” is “anchor baby” which refers to the offspring of a woman who is not a citizen of the country where the child was born in. The phrase carries a negative connotation in that the baby in question is seen as a means for the non-citizen parent(s) to gain an advantage in the country where their offspring is born, which typically has birthright citizenship, much like the U.S.

The topic of “birth tourism” was brought up by Trump in the context of caravans carrying thousands of immigrants from Central America trying to enter the U.S through Mexico. Recently, he said he had ordered 5,200 U.S. troops to be deployed at the border to help beef up security to stop the caravan and aid border patrol agents.

“We’re getting prepared for the caravan, folks. You don’t have to worry about that,” Trump said, Washington Times reported. “They got a lot of rough people in that caravan. We’re tougher than anybody. We’re tougher than any force. And we’re probably going to have to be, unfortunately.”

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Hertz Arena to help Republican candidates running in the upcoming election in Estero, Florida, Oct. 31, 2018. Getty Images/ Joe Raedle

He also reiterated that he will abolish the policy of “catch and release” — normally used in while handling illegal immigrants in the country. He mentioned the same during an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, Monday.

“It’s called catch, but we take the word ‘release’ out,” the president told the crowd Wednesday.

Earlier, on the same day, Trump told reporters at the White House: “We’re not going to release and let them never come back to trial. We’ll build tent cities, we’ll build whatever we have to build in terms of housing, but we’re not doing releases.”

The president had brought up the concept of tent cities during the Fox News interview when Ingraham asked him how he planned to facilitate the stay of the immigrants till their trials.

“We are going to build tent cities. We are going to put up tents all over the place; we are not going to build structures and spend all of this, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars – we are going to have tents; they are going to be very nice and they are going to wait and if they don’t get asylum, they get out,” he said.