The Fight to Ensure Citizenship and Liberty

Jaime Aparicio, A&E Editor

Tuesday, October 30, President Donald J. Trump was featured in an interview with Axios that has gathered quite the controversy. Residents in the United States born from those with illegal citizenship consider this a national issue. President Trump wants to abolish birthright citizenship to control what he calls a “ridiculous” problem for the United States. Rather than go through standard judicial procedures, Trump wishes to conduct an executive order to go straight to the “problem.”

In the interview, President Trump says, “We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

Retiring House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, stated that the president cannot perform such an act without going through the proper channels:

“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,” he says in the interview with radio station WVLK in Lexington, Ky.

A Look Back at History

  It was in 1883 that American activist and poet Emma Lazarus wrote the infamous piece “The New Colossus” that would later be placed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. As a refresher for history, the full sonnet reads as follows:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It is in this piece of poetry that the lines “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me” stand out among the rest. With such controversy surrounding the statement about birthright citizenship, some have attempted to clarify the words stated by the president. Andrew C. McCarthy of the National Review writes that the 14th amendment doesn’t mandate citizenship simply because a person is born within the US. Others have stated the amendment was first created to remove the bonds of slavery and ensure those affected be protected.

What’s the Impact and What can be Done?

One of the first cases to deal with immigration was that of Wong Kim Ark, a Chinese-American born to Chinese immigrants in 1873. The case lasted over a year but ultimately was decided for Wong to be accepted in the US as a full citizen with the help from Chinese-American organization Six Companies. Despite this, President Trump’s remarks concerning illegal immigrants have many going to social media to express concerns on the matter.

As the discussions continue, residents who are not legal citizens are honestly fearful for their lives as they may soon find themselves being moved out of the country, or worse yet, imprisoned simply for being born in the US. With midterm elections looming, voters against President Trump are rising up to take action and have their voices be heard. If it is being felt that your citizenship is in danger, it has been suggested to speak to an immigration lawyer and see where your right as a citizen stands in today’s law. Speaking to a colleague or a friend about the matter will not help legally, so be sure to seek proper counsel from someone who practices and is familiar with the law. Finally, be sure to go out and vote!

A print version of this article appeared Tuesday, Nov. 6. This article was adjusted by the editor for an online publication.