Coons pushes back on Trump, Graham efforts to undo 14th Amendment

Cherri Gregg
October 31, 2018 - 2:15 pm
U.S. Senator Chris Coons

Jennifer Corbett, The News Journal


Updated at 5:35 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that birthright citizenship will end "one way or another," as he considers taking executive action to that effect. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., responded to the president's proposed executive order, as well as possible legislation. 

"I'm concerned about ways in which the president's rhetoric about immigrants and immigration is giving the wrong message," Coons said. "The president may wish that he could change the constitution with an executive order, but he can't."

Coons, elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, sits on the Senate Judiciary and Appropriation Committees and strongly believes that any executive order attempting to end the 14th Amendment guarantee of birthright citizenship would fail.

"He could try, but I would expect a district court to immediately issue an injunction to say 'That's not valid,'" Coons said.

RELATED: Trump: End birthright citizenship for some US-born babies

Most legal scholars agree such a change would require a Constitutional amendment.

"Legally, scholars conservative and liberal with a variety of backgrounds have said that it would take a Constitutional Amendment to change this provision of the 14th Amendment to our constitution."

Coons says he's used to working across the aisle with folks like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., but is shocked that Graham told the media he'll introduce legislation to end birthright citizenship.

"I am puzzled by his assertion that this is something that could be changed by legislation," Coons said.

He predicts legislation would also be struck down by courts. 

"And if it violates the constitution they would invalidate in," he said.

In Tweets, President Trump has hinted at loops holes in the constitution that would allow his action.

Coons said citizens can vent their frustrations at the polls.

"To make our country stronger is what folks should be voting for this November 6th."

Coons is up for re-election in 2020, but he says he is focused on helping Democrats gain seats in Congress. He says citizens who are concerned about what's happening in Washington should vote on Nov. 6.