President Donald Trump had strong words for House Speaker Paul Ryan after the Wisconsin Republican rejected the president's claim that he could end birthright citizenship with an executive order.
“Paul Ryan should be focusing on holding the Majority rather than giving his opinions on Birthright Citizenship, something he knows nothing about!” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Our new Republican Majority will work on this, Closing the Immigration Loopholes and Securing our Border!”
The tweet came after Ryan poured cold water on Trump's claim that he could unilaterally end birthright citizenship, which is enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
"We're 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 with all of those benefits," Trump claimed in an interview with Axios, despite more than 30 countries offering birthright citizenship.
"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump added. "You can definitely do it with an act of Congress. But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order."
"You obviously cannot do that," Ryan told WVLK when asked about Trump's comments.
"As a conservative, I'm a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution and I think in this case the 14th Amendment is pretty clear,” he said.
Trump not backing down: The president followed up his comments about the executive order by tweeting that birthright citizenship "will be ended one way or the other."
"I believe you can have a simple vote in Congress," Trump told reporters Wednesday.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he would introduce a bill to end birthright citizenship and Rep. Steve King (R-IA) has proposed a bill that would ban birthright citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.
Legal experts raise doubts: While Trump's proposal to end a Constitutional right with an executive order is highly unlikely to happen, the Congressional legislation may not offer a much more effective roadmap.
"The bill Rep. King is proposing would be unconstitutional under the Supreme Court's long-standing interpretation of the 14th Amendment," University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck told CNN. "The only way the bill could be upheld is if the Supreme Court reverses itself or if the Constitution is amended."
GOP bills may not have the votes: "At this point, it's really a minority within the Republican Party that's advocating for the end of birthright citizenship," Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute told CNN. "There have been bills that have been introduced since the early 1990s that would limit or end birthright citizenship, but they have never had enough support to pass even out of committee, much less out of Congress."