Donald Trump Wants To Remove 'Ridiculous' Birthright Citizenship, But Can He Do It Without Congress?

President Donald Trump and his administration are considering an executive order to eliminate so-called birthright citizenship in the United States.

Trump mentioned the potential policy while speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday ahead of a speaking engagement in Kentucky. The policy was just one of several topics the president covered during the question and answer session with the media.

"We're looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby–congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen," Trump said. "It's frankly ridiculous."

This isn't the first time that the president has proposed such an idea. Trump previously floated the idea of eliminating birthright citizenship via executive order during an October 2018 with Axios.

At the time, Trump claimed the United States is "the only country in the world" that allows birthright citizenship, though it is a recognized form of citizenship in 32 other nations, including neighboring Canada and Mexico. Brazil, Argentina, Venezula, Jamacia and Pakistan are a few of the others.

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media before departing from the White House on August 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump spoke on several topics including the U.S. economy and why he canceled his trip to Denmark. Getty/Mark Wilson

Currently, U.S. citizenship is obtained via birthright — meaning that a baby is born within the borders of the United States, including certain territories or "outlying possessions" — or a child is born to at least one parent who is an American citizen at the time of the child's birth.

Constitutional scholars frequently point to the 14th Amendment, which states that those "born or naturalized" into the U.S. are considered citizens, as establishing the parameters of citizenship.

According to Erwin Chemerinsky, the Dean of U.C. Berkley's School of Law, any attempt by Trump to challenge the amendment would be deemed unconstitutional.

"President Trump by executive order cannot override the Constitution," Chemerinsky told Newsweek on Wednesday, pointing to the Supreme Court's 1868 ruling in United States V. Wong Kim Art.

In order for birthright citizenship to be revoked in the U.S., the president would need Congress to support the change and vote to ratify the amendment.

When Trump first mentioned the idea in October, politicians from both parties swiftly rebuked the idea.

"You obviously cannot do that. I'm a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case, the 14th Amendment is pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process," then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan told a Kentucky radio station.

Nancy Pelosi also weighed in on the issue during an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, calling the move unconstitutional.

"I just can't even imagine what our founders would be thinking to see a president to take an oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, and then abuse that. This is what this is the election is about––checks and balances. A check and balance on this president," she said.