Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told President Donald Trump that he “can tweet whatever he wants while he sits around watching TV, but he is profoundly wrong” about his insistence that birthright citizenship ought to be limited to the children of U.S. citizens, rather than applying to everyone born in the United States.
The strong consensus of constitutional scholars and precedent is that birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. Trump claimed without evidence this week that he could unilaterally revoke birthright citizenship with an executive order.
Trump, earlier Wednesday, referred to a 1993 speech in which Reid called birthright citizenship — which includes the children of undocumented immigrants — a “reward for being an illegal immigrant.” Reid on Wednesday called the accompanying bill he introduced, to prevent the children of undocumented immigrants from attaining citizenship, “a mistake.” Trump wants to go further than Reid’s proposal, preventing even the children of non-citizens legally present in the United States from attaining citizenship.
Read Reid’s full statement below:
“In 1993, around the time Donald Trump was gobbling up tax-free inheritance money from his wealthy father and driving several companies into bankruptcy, I made a mistake. After I proposed that awful bill, my wife Landra immediately sat me down and said, ‘Harry, what are you doing, don’t you know that my father is an immigrant?’ She set me straight. And in my 36 years in Washington, there is no more valuable lesson I learned than the strength and power of immigrants and no issue I worked harder on than fixing our broken immigration system. I had the privilege of learning from heroes like Astrid Silva who came to this nation as a little girl and has emerged as a powerful leader. Immigrants are the lifeblood of our nation. They are our power and our strength. This president wants to destroy not build, to stoke hatred instead of unify. He can tweet whatever he wants while he sits around watching TV, but he is profoundly wrong.”