WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee the right to citizenship to everyone born in the country and he would continue his push to end it, bringing his tough line on immigration to the fore as the country heads into next week's congressional elections.
"So-called Birthright Citizenship, which costs our Country billions of dollars and is very unfair to our citizens, will be ended one way or the other. It is not covered by the 14th Amendment because of the words 'subject to the jurisdiction thereof.' Many legal scholars agree....." Trump wrote in a Twitter post.
The 14th Amendment, added after the U.S. Civil War, grants citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil and was intended to give constitutional protections to former slaves. But Republicans such as Trump say it creates an incentive for people to come to the country illegally to have children.
The lawyer husband of one of Trump's top advisers, Kellyanne Conway, wrote in an opinion piece on Wednesday that such a move to end birthright citizenship would be unconstitutional.
"Sometimes the Constitution's text is plain as day and bars what politicians seek to do. That's the case with President Trump's proposal to end "birthright citizenship" through an executive order," George Conway wrote.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in an interview with Fox News on Wednesday there was "more than just one piece of the puzzle" on immigration.
"The president wants to see a total reform take place. We have massive loopholes in our immigration system that we have to close or we're just going to continue kicking the can down the road," she added.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum)