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Groups Slam Trump Plan to Revoke Birthright Citizenship

Nevada's economy depends heavily on immigrants, who make up 40 percent of workers in the food-service and hotel industries. (AvidCreative/iStockphoto)
Nevada's economy depends heavily on immigrants, who make up 40 percent of workers in the food-service and hotel industries. (AvidCreative/iStockphoto)
October 31, 2018

LAS VEGAS - Latino and civil-rights groups are dismissing President Donald Trump's plan to end birthright citizenship, calling it an unconstitutional election-week stunt to appeal to his base.

Trump said in an interview Monday that he's planning an executive order revoking the right to automatic citizenship for people born on American soil and will reserve it only for babies with at least one parent who is a citizen.

Karina Martinez, director of communications for the group Mi Familia Vota in Nevada, said birthright citizenship was spelled out in the Constitution's 14th Amendment, precisely to defend against this type of discrimination.

"The proposal is a provocation, but it's more than just that," she said. "It's really an attack on the principle of equality in our country."

The 14th Amendment was put in place after the Civil War to protect former slaves and their children, and has been open to different interpretations over the years. Trump said on Monday that it's ridiculous for someone to have citizenship solely because they're born in the United States, but any such executive order would provoke litigation because the Constitution can only be changed by a two-thirds majority in Congress or passage by two-thirds of state legislatures.

Martinez said the president's proposal, along with militarization of the border and his stream of insulting tweets directed at immigrants, give all Americans a reason to go to the polls next Tuesday.

"It's up to us to protect ourselves. It's up to us to defend our American values," she said. "We can do that by voting and electing people who will stand with us to defend equality."

According to the American Immigration Council, nearly one in five Nevada residents is an immigrant, while almost one in six is a native-born U.S. citizen with at least one immigrant parent.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV