GOP Candidates Follow Donald Trump In Calling For An End to Birthright Citizenship

Last updated on July 17th, 2023 at 06:10 pm

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Donald Trump called for an end to birthright citizenship when he unveiled his immigration policy over the weekend. Within 48 hours, fellow GOP candidates Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, had followed Trump’s lead.

On Monday, Governor Jindal, who ironically was born a child of non-citizen immigrants, tweeted:

We need to end birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Senator Lindsey Graham also called for ending birthright citizenship on Monday. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker followed Trump’s lead as well, saying that we should put an end to birthright citizenship in the United States.

Donald Trump is clearly setting the Republican agenda in the 2016 race. While his ideas are impractical, he at least has ideas. The remaining Republican candidates have turned into a “me too” brigade, waiting to see what Trump says, and then reacting by mimicking his positions. As long as Trump is still riding high in the polls, every GOP candidate apparently wants to be just like him.

While Trump projects the image of a demented and delusional leader, his political adversaries in the GOP, come across as weak followers. The rest of the Republican field seems intent on belatedly copying Trump in the hope’s of matching his polling popularity.

In dealing with Trump, many in the Republican Party have inverted Barry Goldwater’s famous slogan. Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal’s positions on immigration could be best described as “an echo, not a choice.” The two governors, desperate to catch fire in the polls, have reduced themselves to following Trump around like lost puppies, hoping to find enough ideological scraps to feed their intellectually starved campaigns.

Ending birthright citizenship is blatantly unconstitutional, not to mention terrible policy. It is disturbing that so many Republican candidates have jumped on the bandwagon to ignore the fourteenth amendment and end birthright citizenship.

Carlos Sanchez, from People For the American Way blasted the Republican’s anti-immigrant grandstanding, stating:

Scott Walker and Lindsey Graham are two of the latest Republicans to join Donald Trump and Steve King in attacking the constitutional right to birthright citizenship. Not only does this policy fundamentally change what it means to be an American, but it also condemns infants to an unknown status from the moment they’re born.

Clearly, their support for this indefensible policy shows that Republicans are more concerned with pandering to their anti-immigrant base than they are with producing real policy ideas to fix our broken immigration system.

In addition to being a cruel policy that would separate families, the GOP rush to end birthright citizenship is doubly pathetic, because most of the Republican field is basically letting Donald Trump set policy for their party. In a high stakes game resembling “Simon says”, when “Donald says” end birthright citizenship, the rest of the GOP lines up to copy him without hesitation.



Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick's successful re-election bid in Arizona's 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.


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