US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration is "seriously" considering ending citizenship rights of US-born children of non-citizens and illegal immigrants.
"We're looking at that very seriously, birthright citizenship, where you have a baby on our land, you walk over the border, have a baby - congratulations, the baby is now a U.S. citizen. ... It's frankly ridiculous," Trump told reporters.
The President's contentious crackdown on immigrants follows the recent proposal that will allow indefinite detention of undocumented families. The proposal replaced the agreement that set a 20-day limit for detaining children.
The issue of ending birthright citizenship made headlines last year after Trump stated that he would end the provision through an executive order.
Echoing his recent claims of the citizenship law being "ridiculous', he had told Axios news portal, "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 for 85 years with all of those benefits." He further added, "It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And it has to end."
His remarks were criticised by lawmakers, including his own judicial nominees, the then-House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said his plans would afoul the US constitution that guarantees birthright citizenship.
The 14th Amendment of the US constitution, ratified in 1868, was passed after the American Civil War to ensure that black Americans had full citizenship rights in the country. It states, "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."
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke told CNN on Wednesday that Trump's move was racist. "It's a ridiculous notion to overturn the 14th Amendment. It's racist on its face."
Earlier this month, Jimmy Aldaoud from Detroit, Michigan who had lived in the United States since he was an infant, died due to unavailability of diabetes medication in Iraq shortly after the US administration deported him.
Human Rights Watch said that Aldaoud's death is a "shocking but not unpredictable result of cruel US immigration policies".