Trump challenges birthright citizenship with original understanding. “Originalism” is a way of interpreting a document written so long ago that the words used at that time likely meant something other than what those same words will mean to a modern audience. If the document was written in 1868 it should be read in the context of 1868, not 2019.
The 14th Amendment was written in 1868. Section 1 of the 14th says:
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.
The 1857 Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court held that slaves were not citizens of the United States. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was meant to reverse the Dred Scott decision and to grant citizenship to the freed slaves.
Today some people seriously argue that the authors of the 14th Amendment had in mind babies born to residents of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador who manage to sneak their pregnant bodies past a U.S. Border Patrol that didn’t exist yet in violation of immigration laws that hadn’t been written yet.
Of course, that is preposterous. No one in 1868 could have read the 14th Amendment and understood it to mean anything close to that. The 14th Amendment did not by its words refer to any other than the Dred Scott decision and the newly freed slaves, nor would anyone alive at the time have so understood it.
President Trump says this needs to be looked at. He is right. The whole idea that a pregnant women can cross our border illegally, give birth to her baby and confer U.S. citizenship on her child, is nuts.