As it turns out, the framers were quite clear. Former Sen. Jacob Howard (R-Mich.), author of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, said on the floor of the Senate in 1866 that the clause “will not, of course, include persons in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” In other words, “quod erat demonstrandum.”
In his continuing effort to shake up the status quo in Washington, President Trump has dropped a bombshell. The announcement that he would sign an executive order restricting birthright citizenship sent the anti-borders movement into a state of apoplexy: “He can’t overturn the Constitution! The issue has been settled!” Closer inspection reveals that Trump can indeed correctly interpret a law that has been misinterpreted for more than a century.
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