Defending Democracy

NC’s leading immigrant-led groups denounce Trump’s threat to end birthright citizenship

A coalition of Latinx and AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community organizations is speaking out against President Trump’s pledge to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship.

El Pueblo, N.C. Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) and the Southeast Asian Coalition (SEAC) note that the administration’s plan “fans animosity” toward  immigrant communities, while placing at risk the safety and security of families, friends and neighbors.

Here’s more from the group’s joint press release:

Collectively we and other immigrant-led groups in North Carolina will not be discouraged by the current administration’s disregard for immigrants and reaffirm our commitment to the visibility, representation and safety of our communities.

Through grassroots mobilization, we ensure that we protect our communities, that they are heard at the ballot box, and that our communities’ votes count. Birthright citizenship is among the long-held values of the United States, meant to empower disenfranchised groups by coming out of the shadows and gaining a seat at the table in government representation.

“There is no constitutional basis for what the president is threatening to do,” said Angeline Echeverría, Executive Director at El Pueblo. “The fact that he is declaring this at the same time that he is ordering troops to the US-Mexico border to block asylum-seekers is another sign that he is continuing to push his racist agenda which must be condemned by anyone who supports equity and opportunity.”

The Citizenship Clause of the 14th Amendment has a particular resonance for the Asian American community, as determined through an 1898 U.S. Supreme Court case, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.

In that case, the high court held that that the son of a Chinese national — who was forbidden under the Chinese Exclusion Act from ever becoming a U.S. citizen — should not be deprived citizenship because of his parents’ immigration status. The Court ruled that every child is born with the same rights as every other U.S. citizen, and this has been the law of the land for more than a century.

“Naturalization and citizenship is only one step toward full representation and acknowledgement of our communities,” said Chavi Khanna Koneru, Executive Director of NCAAT. “The administration’s unconstitutional threat at stripping citizenship from infants shows how important it is for our communities to be heard through the electoral process.”

With only one week left before Election Day, our community organizations are focusing attention on getting our communities out to the polls through phonebanks and door-to-door canvasses. Despite the administration’s distracting and unlawful proposal, the coalition will continue to advocate for and empower our communities toward a more equitable future where every individual has access to the safety and opportunity that they deserve, regardless of background, ethnicity or immigration status.

Read the full statement and the growing list of community partners here.

Trump doubled-down on the issue Wednesday saying via Twitter that birthright citizenship would be “ended one way or the other.”

For more on Trump’s scheme to end birthright citizenship, read this morning’s op-ed by Ian Milhiser on the main Policy Watch site.

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