Oct 30, 2018 - Politics & Policy

Pence says SCOTUS never ruled on birthright citizenship for unauthorized immigrants

Mike Pence.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence confirmed Tuesday that the White House was examining taking action on ending birthright citizenship in an interview with Politico, adding that the Supreme Court "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."

The big picture: Pence is correct that the Supreme Court hasn't ruled on a Citizenship Clause case specifically involving unauthorized immigrants, but the landmark 1898 case United States v. Wong Kim Ark affirmed that people born in the U.S. are considered American citizens regardless of their parents' immigration status, per the ACLU. Pence's argument about that specific phrase in the amendment is backed by some conservatives, though few legal scholars believe Trump would be able to end birthright citizenship via an executive order.

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