Whether President Trump can end birthright citizenship with an executive order comes down to one's reading of the 14th Amendment. As NPR explains in a fact-check piece, a "small but vocal group of conservative legal scholars" have zeroed in on five crucial words, bolded here: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States." Those scholars say those words have been misinterpreted and that the authors' true intention was that citizenship not be extended to the children of noncitizens. More:
- The Wall Street Journal's editorial board agrees with NPR's take and gives more historical background, writing "'jurisdiction' is well understood as referring to the territory where the force of law applies, and that means it applies to nearly everyone on US soil. The exceptions in 1868 were diplomats (who have sovereign immunity) and Native Americans on tribal lands. Congress later granted Native Americans birth citizenship while diminishing tribal sovereignty."