GOP Senate Candidate Gov. Rick Scott Walks Away When Asked About Trump's Desire to End Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order
President Donald Trump, during a recent interview with Axios.com, asserted that he would like to see an end to birthright citizenship for children born in the United States to non-U.S. parents (who Trump has referred to as “anchor babies” many times). And when a Miami Herald reporter asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott for his views on that subject, his response was to ignore the question and walk away.
During the Axios interview, Trump complained, “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....with all of those benefits. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”
Trump told Axios that he would like to sign an executive order ending U.S. citizenship for “anchor babies.” But Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Cuban-American Republican elected to the U.S. House of Representatives via Miami, responded by noting that Trump could not end birthright citizenship with an executive order—as it is protected by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
On Twitter, Curbelo told Trump, “Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no, @realDonaldTrump, you can’t end it by executive order. What we really need is broad immigration reform that makes our country more secure and reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a nation of immigrants.”
Curbelo, a NeverTrump Republican, refused to endorse either Trump or Hillary Clinton in 2016. Seeking reelection in 2018, he is running against Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
It isn’t hard to understand why Scott avoided the Miami Herald reporter’s question. The Florida governor is hoping to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida’s tight U.S. Senate race—and in a state as heavily Latino as Florida, Scott doesn’t want to appear anti-immigrant. But on the other hand, he doesn’t want to alienate white Republican voters by daring to disagree with Trump on something pertaining to immigration.
According to the 14th Amendment (which was adopted in 1868), “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.”
Polls released this week have given Nelson only a slight lead over Scott and are well within the margin of error. Nelson has a 2% lead over Scott in a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll and a 1% lead according to UNF—whereas a New York Times/Siena poll conducted October 23-27 found Nelson ahead by 4%.