CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - In the hours after Axios published an interview with President Donald Trump in which he says he believes he could end birthright citizenship with an executive order, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham announced he plans to introduce legislation to formally end it.
“Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship," Graham said in a string of tweets Tuesday morning. “I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship."
He later added that he plans to introduce legislation “along the same lines” as the proposed executive order from President Trump.
The end of birthright citizenship would face multiple hurdles and may end at the Supreme Court because the 14th amendment states that all persons “born or naturalized in the United States” are “citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
In the 1898 Supreme Court case United States v. Wong Kim Ark, the court held that a child born to foreign citizens here permanently and legally “becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.”
In the Axios interview, Trump said he had discussed the idea with White House counsel and that it was “in the process, it’ll happen, with an executive order.”
In comments made to Politico Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence argued that the Supreme Court hadn’t ruled on whether the language of the 14th Amendment applies to people who are living in the country illegally.
“We all cherish the language of the 14th Amendment, but the Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th Amendment subject to the jurisdiction thereof applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally," Pence said.
Graham had previously gone on the record saying birthright citizenship is a “magnet” for people entering the country illegally.
Many countries other than the United States offer birthright citizenship including Canada and Mexico.