Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a top Republican Senator considered by some as a political moderate, said that the Supreme Court has never decided whether the 14th Amendment birthright citizenship applies to children of illegal immigrants.
Rubio also noted that President Donald Trump’s planned executive order on changing birthright citizenship does not include children of citizens or legal residents.
“Everybody should take a deep breath. Let’s take a deep breath here for a minute. The 14th Amendment has been interpreted by the courts very clearly. If your parents are citizens or legal residents in the United States, if you’re permanently in this country and you’re born to people who are permanently in this country, they’re citizens,” Rubio told reporters on Nov. 1.
“The only thing the President has said is, for people that are in this country illegally or temporarily—he has been told, he has interpretations of the 14th Amendment that say that that doesn’t apply to them.”
‘Never Been Decided’
Echoing some experts, Rubio added, “That’s never been decided by the court. So, I believe the [Supreme] Court should interpret that amendment according to its original intent by the people who wrote it. That’s what I believe courts should always do.”
Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants, spoke on the difference between legally changing how birthright citizenship is done and on whether or not it’s a good idea.
“Separate from that is the question of whether or not that’s a good idea. That’s a big change. I think we should take our time to understand what that change would mean and the unintended consequences and the like,” he said, before hitting on the birth tourism issue.
“This community knows as well—there is such a thing as people who come into the U.S. simply for the purpose of citizenship. There’s an entire industry in Russia, as an example, that charges people, flies them into the U.S.—Miami in particular—they have children and go back and live in Russia with a U.S. citizenship for their child,” he said.
“I don’t think that any American looks at that and says that’s a positive policy. Whether the 14th Amendment as currently written allows us to address that or not the courts will decide. But that is certainly something that’s legitimate and that we should talk about.”
Trump has not said when exactly he plans to sign the order but did say he expects the birthright citizenship issue to make its way to the Supreme Court. The justices will interpret directly how the 14th Amendment clause deals with the issue of children born to illegal immigrants.