U.S. Congressman Says Haitian Babies Shouldn't Be Entitled To Birthright Citizenship Because They Aren't 'Former Slaves'

He doesn't believe an executive order will end the policy.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

| November 01 2018,

2:25 pm

A U.S. congressman claimed Haitian babies weren't entitled to birthright citizenship because they’re not descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the United States.

Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC) made the ignorance-fueled statement during a Wednesday appearance on MSNBC.

“The idea that you just happen to come in from Haiti or anywhere else and because you get your boat to shore, all the sudden you are open to the same rights and privileges that anybody else is, I think that’s at odds with the intent,” Sanford said. “I think it was ultimately about slavery at that time and rights that should come to former slaves. But we’ll leave that to legal experts.”

Just days prior, President Donald Trump suggested in an interview on HBO's Axios that he would not rule out disbanding the policy with an executive order.

“We’re 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 for 85 years with all of those benefits,” Trump said during the Axios interview. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

While the outgoing South Carolina politician does not believe birthright citizenship can be removed with the stroke of a pen, he agrees with Trump that it is an issue.  

“I happen to be [co-sponsoring] a bill that would say otherwise,” Sanford said. “I think there are a number of folks who have said that particular interpretation is not really what the founding fathers intended.”

The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to newly freed Black slaves after the Civil War. Along with other Reconstruction-era legislation, the amendment has rarely been challenged.

The Supreme Court upheld the amendment in United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898). Sanford's statements reinforce the far-right's belief that immigrants are infringing on Americans' rights. 

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