This week, reports surfaced that President Donald Trump would attempt to end birthright citizenship with an executive order. If the president makes good on this campaign promise, a fight over the Fourteenth Amendment—ensuring citizenship for “all persons born or naturalized in the United States”—would surely follow. “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 … with all of those benefits,” Trump told Axios. “It has to end.”
This claim, however, is not true: Thirty countries still grant automatic citizenship to those born within their borders, according to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies. (Moreover, despite this principle’s significance in American history, the U.S. denied citizenship to the children of Native Americans, African-American slaves, and other non-white people for much of the nation’s history.)
The call to abolish birthright citizenship overlooks a large body of research, drawing on social science and history, showing that repealing birthright citizenship is rarely an effective solution for an overburdened nation. In the U.S., at least, it’s also not realistic: Experts say Trump would face significant legal challenges….