WASHINGTON, DC – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) welcomed President Donald Trump’s raising the issue of birthright citizenship, and announced that he supports Congress’s exploring the issue of how birthright citizenship relates to the children of illegal aliens.
The Fourteenth Amendment’s Citizenship Clause says that all persons born in the United States “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” are U.S. citizens by birth, and President Trump has highlighted a longstanding debate among constitutional scholars about whether this “jurisdiction” phrase refers to political jurisdiction – i.e., whether a person is the citizen of a foreign country – and thus that foreigners giving birth on American soil would not automatically make them American citizens. If so, then current law could be scaled back to stop granting citizenship to these children.
Grassley issued a statement Thursday saying:
The United States welcomes immigrants from all over the world who pursue the legal options available to them to seek permanent residence or citizenship in our country. Birthright citizenship for the children of permanent resident immigrants under the Fourteenth Amendment is settled law, as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Wong Kim Ark. There is a debate among legal scholars about whether that right extends to the children of illegal immigrants. I will closely review President Trump’s executive order. As a general matter, this is an issue that Congress should take the lead to carefully consider and debate.
The House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committees would be the congressional arms with primary jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter and debate legislation.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.