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An uncharacteristically quiet visit to Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, on a day when many of the people murdered there were buried


That’s Why Trump’s Trying To Conjure An “Invasion” By Immigrants Right Before The Midterms


He’s now vowing to undo the 14th Amendment–which automatically grants U.S. citizenship to anyone born here–through Executive Order. And that expands his attack on parts of the U.S. Constitution he doesn’t like, which right now mainly seem to be the ones that relate to immigration.

Yesterday we told you Trump appeared to be thinking about an assault on Section 1, Article 9 in which he might classify a group migrants who intend to seek asylum in this country as “invaders”, since the Constitution lists “cases of rebellion or invasion” as the only acceptable exceptions.

Since then, Trump told Axios he wants to take away automatic citizenship for anybody born in the U.S. Even though the 14th Amendment plainly states:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

We warned you this was coming back in August, when the Trump Administration started moving to deny citizenship to legal immigrants who might’ve availed themselves of government funded pre-school or food stamp, or public health programs, even if they’d been paying all their taxes. At around that same time, a handful of Trump-friendly allies started batting about the idea that the 14th Amendment was really only about providing citizenship to freed slaves after the Civil War, and was never meant to apply to “actual foreigners”.

Couple of big problems with this argument:

  1. Everybody who was involved with drafting and debating and voting on the 14th Amendment has been dead for at least 100 years or so. So no way to ask any of them what they “really” meant.
  2. Subsequent Supreme Court rulings have upheld the meaning of the original language. So it would take an extremely activist court to reverse all that precedent.

The reason Trump is only bringing it up now is obvious: it’s part of a series of stunts to inspire his voters to get out to the polls this Election Day. The New York Times’ Peter Baker has a great summary and analysis.

And Shepard Smith on Fox News puts it so well when he says:

“There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There is nothing at all to worry about….We’re America. We can handle it.”

Trump’s argument fits his conspiracy theory narrative that immigrants are likely to vote Democrat, so keeping them out, stopping them from being citizens, making it unpleasant for them to live here, are some of the strongest ways he can think of to move America toward his vision of what it should look like. Or at least help the old-guard cling to power for as long as possible.

And you may have noticed, pretty much every time Trump floats a new initiative, he always tosses in one super-size lie to drive his point home. This time it’s that America’s “the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States…with all of those benefits”. When in fact that’s true in almost every country in North and South America (including Mexico and Canada), and is only slightly more restrictive in most of Europe. But we think you’d be pretty safe betting all your money he will continue making that claim as he heads into a whirlwind week of rallies leading up to Election Day.

Setting that aside, the broader implications of what the President is suggesting are much bleaker, and unnerving. Let’s say you agree it’s silly for someone to automatically be an American citizen just because they’re born here, especially if both their parents are not. Then the way to address that is to work and push for a change to the 14th Amendment. Yes, that’s incredibly difficult (as it should be), but the Constitution has been changed as recently as 1992 when the 27th Amendment went into effect, which addresses Congressional pay. If you respect the Constitution (as Trump says he does — in fact he keeps claiming his Supreme Court picks are so great because the interpret the Constitution “as written”), and the rule of law (as Trump also frequently says he does), then how can you justify this end-around?

Here’s how: you DON’T really respect the Constitution as written, especially when its words become a nuisance to you. Because the words in this case especially are—to borrow a favorite phrase from Trump—crystal clear. Here they are again:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Or as George Conway (Kellyanne Conway’s husband), and Neal Katyal put it succinctly in an opinion piece in the Washington Post:

“Sometimes the Constitution’s text is plain as day and bars what politicians seek to do.”

Meaning if Trump moves ahead and issues his Executive Order, the ultimate success or failure of such a gambit lies with the Supreme Court. And then fact is, if “his guys” on the Court say he can, he can. But is there any chance those “originalists” will go along with Trump and rule, in effect, that the President has the power to override the Constitution?

Or maybe this is another one of those instances where Trump’s main immediate goal is to send Liberals into paroxysms, and his own base into gleeful ecstasy as they rush out to the polls to mete out even more punishment. Because if that’s the case, Trump’s already at least half achieved that result.

But he hasn’t yet won. Republicans haven’t yet held on to the House and Senate. That depends on how many people opposing him vote. So please vote.