WASHINGTON (KKTV) - President Donald Trump says he is mulling ending the right to citizenship for children born in the United States to non-citizen parents.
Trump announced his plan during an interview with Axios, scheduled to air on HBO Sunday at 4:30 p.m. MST. He said he would do so by executive order.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," he said.
He did not offer a time frame or any other details for the plan, only that he had been in talks with his White House counsel and believed it was within his power to do so.
"You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."
But many legal experts say such an order would run afoul of the Constitution. The 150-year-old 14th Amendment has long been applied to all children born on American soil, its citizenship clause reading: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Some conservatives argue the amendment was only intended for legal residents of the United States and should have never been applied to children of parents in the country illegally or on temporary visas.
The president claimed his move would put the United States in line with the rest of the world.
"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,” Trump added. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end."
Twenty-nine other countries, including Canada, do offer birthright citizenship, according to an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies.
If indeed signed, the executive order practically guarantees a legal battle going all the way to the Supreme Court.
A Supreme Court ruling could determine the interpretation of the 14th Amendment going forward -- and the scope of any future president's authority.