Trump pushes end to birthright citizenship as US elections loom

In this March 23, 2016 photo, the Constitution is held by a member of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump says he wants to order the end of the constitutional right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born in the United States. (AP)
Updated 30 October 2018

Trump pushes end to birthright citizenship as US elections loom

  • Trump told the Axios news website he would try to end the right of citizenship for US-born children of non-citizens and illegal immigrants

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said he will seek to limit the right of citizenship for certain children born in the United States in a new bid to dramatically reshape immigration policies that was likely to spark a congressional battle.
Seeking to shore up support for Republicans ahead of the congressional elections next week, Trump told the Axios news website he would try to end the right of citizenship for US-born children of non-citizens and illegal immigrants.
The president said in an interview published on Tuesday that he would make the move through an executive order but citizenship is granted to US-born children under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which cannot be changed by the president. That would require action by Congress and US states.
One member of Congress, Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham said he would move forward to introduce legislation “along the same lines” as Trump’s order.
At least since 2005, Republicans in the US Congress have regularly offered legislation ending birthright citizenship for children born in the United States if their parents were in the United States illegally. But the legislation has never advanced, even when the House of Representatives or Senate was under Republican control.
Neither Graham nor Trump gave any details about the latest plan, and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Vice President Mike Pence said the plan may not be unconstitutional, telling Politico in an interview that while “we all cherish” the 14th amendment, the nation’s top court has not weighed in on the issue entirely.
“But the Supreme Court of the United States has never ruled on whether or not the language of the 14th amendment, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, applies specifically to people who are in the country illegally,” Pence said.
The 14th Amendment allows for “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.”
A legal challenge would prompt the nation’s courts to weigh in on what would be one of the most sweeping moves of the Trump administration.


Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

Updated 10 December 2019

Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

  • International Court of Justice seeks to address atrocities committed by Myanmar

DHAKA: Several members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar expressed optimism on Monday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would rule in their favor once it began its three-day hearing against Myanmar on Tuesday.

The case was filed by Gambia on behalf of all Muslim nations from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the ICJ over the alleged persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar military.

On Nov. 18, the court decided to hold the hearings from Dec.10 to 12. Gambia’s justice minister will lead his country during the hearings.

Both Canada and Bangladesh have been supporting Gambia by providing different data and information regarding the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s state councillor and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has already reached  the Netherlands to lead the defense lawyers on behalf of her country at the ICJ.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will remain present at the courtroom to witness the process.

He will lead a 20-member team, comprising government officials and civil society representatives.

Rohingya at Cox’s Bazar are highly optimistic of securing justice at the ICJ.

“We think justice will be ensured because all international human rights groups, different UN organizations and the international community have got evidence of the persecution on the Rohingya. All of them have visited the refugee camps many times and listened to the plight of the Rohingya,” Sawyed Ullah, a community leader from Jamtoli, told Arab News.

“Also, we have strong evidences of atrocities committed by the Myanmar government to root out the Rohingya from their birth place, Rakhine,” Ullah added.

“Without ensuring accountability, there will not be any safety and justice in Rakhine. Once the accountability is restored,  all of us will be able to go back home.”

Ramjan Ali, another refugee from the Kutupalang camp, said: “Myanmar’s government has forcibly displaced the Rohingya from their own land and that compelled us to shelter here at the refugee camps. Isn’t it enough evidence to justify our allegations against the Myanmar government?”

Ramjan Ali added: “Still the situation in Rakhine is very bad as we receive information from our relatives over there. We need protection from the international forces before any repatriation, and the ICJ’s decision will be helpful for us in this regard.”

Rohingya human rights activist Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the German-based Free Rohingya Coalition described the ICJ’s move as historic.

“It is first ever since we are persecuted. We have been seeking for justice since very long time,” Lwin told Arab News, adding that “finally the case is now at the world court and although it will take several years we are now excited for provisional measures from the court.”

Lwin, along with some 200 Rohingya rights activists from around the world, is set to hold a protest rally at the Hague from Dec. 11 during the ICJ’s hearing.

“We are expecting very much from the ICJ. Regardless whether Myanmar follows the decisions of the court this will have a huge impact. There won’t be any other justice mechanisms if this international court of justice can’t ensure the justice for us,” added Lwin.

Expressing his frustration on the repatriation process, Lwin said that the Myanmar government still had a “genocidal policy” on the Rohingya.

“I don’t think repatriation of the Rohingya will take place soon unless the government is considering to fulfill our demands,” he said.

The ICJ’s final decision will hold strong significance as any decisions taken by the ICJ are binding on member states.

Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories of the Genocide Convention.