Law Professor Jonathan Turley Says There’s ‘Good Faith Arguments’ To Be Made To To Limit Birthright Citizenship But Not Through Executive Order

Screenshot/Fox News

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Nick Givas Media And Politics Reporter
Font Size:

George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley claimed there are “good faith arguments” to be made about limiting birthright citizenship, on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, but said it cannot be done by executive order.

“I don’t understand all the hyperbole and anger about this,” Turley said. (RELATED: Brett Kavanaugh Turned The Tide Once He Decided To Hit Back Against Democratic Attacks, Says Law Professor Jonathan Turley)

“This has been a long-standing debate. There’s good faith arguments on both sides,” he said. “The natural reading of this amendment would seem to support unlimited birthright citizenship. But the history, the text, some of the drafters tend to go the other way.”


Birthright citizenship has been criticized on the right as a loophole for pregnant illegal immigrants. A pregnant migrant can cross the border to have their child in the U.S., which automatically makes it a citizen. It then becomes more difficult for the government to deport its family.

Turley said it’s possible to view the Constitution as having a limit on birthright citizenship, but would not go so far as to support President Donald Trump’s proposed executive action. He also said the GOP would have better luck proposing legislation rather than relying on the president to solve the issue single-handedly.

“Courts view clauses like this as having meaning. They don’t just dispense them. So the question is why was this clause put in? What was it referencing? And you can make — you can certainly make a good faith argument that it limits birthright citizenship,” Turley said.

“The United States is something of an outlier. There’s only about 30 countries that recognize unlimited birthright citizenship. Now that doesn’t mean that you can use an executive order,” he said, adding:

“I testified against President [Barack] Obama using executive orders. And I think it was wrong then. I think it’s wrong now. But I think [South Carolina GOP Sen.] Lindsey Graham’s proposal of legislation could have a stronger case to make in court.”

You can Follow Nick on Twitter

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.