Trump steps up anti-immigrant offensive ahead of US midterm vote

2018-11-01 07:00

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would fight all the way to the Supreme Court to end a constitutional guarantee of citizenship for people born on US soil, stepping up his anti-immigrant offensive in the final stretch before key midterm elections.

With control of Congress at stake in the November 6 vote, Trump has sought to energise his base by portraying migrants as a national security threat, ordering thousands of soldiers to the southern border and pressuring Mexico to halt groups of migrants headed for the US.

In the latest twist, he has vowed to eliminate the automatic right to citizenship of persons born in the United States, long guaranteed - with few exceptions - under the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution.

"So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other," Trump tweeted.

He said he would take the fight to the nation's highest court. "This case will be settled by the United States Supreme Court!" he wrote.

Trump had said previously in an interview with Axios that he would end the blanket guarantee via an executive order - something not included in provisions for modifying the US constitution.

Trump also asserted that birthright citizenship "is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof'".

That phrase traditionally has been interpreted as meaning people who have immunity from US law such as children born to foreign diplomats in the United States.

Troops to the border

Trump's administration has detained thousands of illegal immigrants under US immigration law, undercutting the argument that they do not fall under American legal jurisdiction.

And the US Supreme Court has upheld the citizenship of children born in the United States to immigrant parents.

"The World is using our laws to our detriment. They laugh at the Stupidity they see!" Trump tweeted.

Trump has also announced he is sending more than 5000 soldiers to shore up the US-Mexico border, but they will likely be limited to support activities as they are legally barred from conducting law enforcement operations in the United States.

And he has called on Mexico to halt groups of Central American migrants - which he has repeatedly vilified in campaign speeches - that are travelling through the country to reach the United States.

"The Caravans are made up of some very tough fighters and people. Fought back hard and viciously against Mexico at Northern Border before breaking through. Mexican soldiers hurt, were unable, or unwilling to stop Caravan. Should stop them before they reach our Border, but won't!" Trump tweeted.

The migrant groups that Trump has sought to cast as a threat to the United States are still in southern Mexico, hundreds of kilometers from the US border.

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Read more on:    donald trump  |  mexico  |  us

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