CLEVELAND- “It was so ridiculous it clearly stated in the 14th Amendment in our constitution section one all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” says Margaret Wong, a prominent immigration attorney based in Cleveland.
Wong laughed when she explained her response to President Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants.
In an interview with Axios President Trump explained he plans to use an executive order to usurp the 14th Amendment.
“Now they are saying I can do it with an executive order. How ridiculous, we are the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years,” Trump said.
There are more than 30 countries around the world that also have birthright citizenship, including Mexico and Canada.
Wong says she does not believe an executive order can overturn an amendment to the constitution.
“Constitution applies to all people in America, everybody, and that’s why America is so great,” she said.
Wong is an immigrant herself and her law firm takes on about 30 new cases every day. She says she expects calls from clients as news of Trump’s proposal spreads.
Wong said there will be even more fear within the immigrant community.
“There’s a lot of mental issues already with foreign-born people regardless if their parents have papers, they have papers, the foreign-born, especially the Latino population is one of the fastest growing areas in America,” she said.
Abel Reyes and his girlfriend Maira each have two children who were born in the US to non-citizen parents.
“It’s very scary, unthinkable, to hear that news but I will hope that the president will consider this and not go forward with this,” said Abel, who is now a permanent resident.
Wong says she will tell her clients not to worry about the proposal, which she calls a ‘rumor’ and to make sure that they always follow the law.
“Pay your tax, don’t get on Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, have your baby and be happy,” she said.
President Trump did not give a timeline for when he plans to sign an executive order, but said that he is speaking with counsel and it is “in the process”.