Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a GOP candidate for president in 2024, said earlier this week that if he were elected president, he would end “birthright citizenship” that children who are born to illegal immigrants enjoy today.
Speaking at a press conference at a border town in Texas this week, DeSantis said that the immigration policy, which has been in effect for a while now, should be scrapped. Birthright citizenship says that any child who is born within the borders of the United States automatically gains citizenship.
This is the case regardless of what the citizenship status of the child’s parents are, and even applies if the parents are in America illegally.
Also known as “jus soli,” birthright citizenship is generally considered to be protected as part of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment. That amendment says citizenship is guaranteed to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.”
The landmark Supreme Court decision that is used as precedent for this rule was handed down way back in 1898. In that case, United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the defendant was born to Chinese parents who at the time were living in the U.S.
The defendant was denied entry back into the United States when he went to visit his parents, with immigration authorities saying he wasn’t a citizen.
The high court handed down a 6-2 ruling in that case saying that the defendant was indeed a U.S. citizen. That ruling established that even children who are born to parents who aren’t citizens of the United States are considered U.S. citizens if they are born within America’s borders.
Immigration has been a major focus of DeSantis in the early days on his presidential campaign trail – and throughout the last few years of his governorship in Florida.
The Washington Examiner obtained a memo DeSantis wrote that was called “No Excuses.” It highlighted his intention to crack down on all illegal immigration as the Biden administration is wholeheartedly struggling with a crisis at the southern border.
Part of DeSantis’ plan for immigration includes ending what he calls a “failed policy.” The memo reads:
“DeSantis will take action to end the idea that children born to illegal aliens are entitled to birthright citizenship. Dangling the prize of citizenship to the future offspring of illegal immigrants is a major driver of illegal migration.”
DeSantis said at the press conference this week that he would “remove the incentives to come here illegally to begin with,” which includes birthright citizenship. He said that has been abused as it’s currently being implemented.
“This idea that you can come across the border and two days later have a child, and somehow that’s an American citizen – that was not the original intention of the 14th Amendment.”
Back in 2018, then-President Donald Trump promised that he would restrict birthright citizenship, but he never ended up issuing an executive order that might have adjusted the policy in some way.