Washington – This week, presidential candidate Donald Trump outlined an immigration policy that would amend the United States Constitution to repeal the 14th Amendment’s right to citizenship based on a baby’s birth in the U.S. Trump elaborated during media interviews, saying he would also deport U.S. citizen children with an undocumented immigrant parent. While other presidential candidates have also backed similar citizenship policies, Trump is the only candidate to pledge to deport U.S. citizens.

“Child poverty is twice the poverty rate for seniors, millions of kids are still uninsured, and more than a million children are homeless,” said First Focus president Bruce Lesley. “But instead of offering real solutions, the first time a 2016 presidential candidate spotlights a children’s issue besides education, the plan singles out kids for a reckless policy that would make problems for children worse.”

Today, the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus released an analysis of the harms to children resulting from ending birthright citizenship, as Trump has proposed. In addition to turning back the legal clock to the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford decision, which denied U.S.-born African Americans the full rights of citizenship, the analysis finds that the plan would:

  • Burden every child and family in America with the potential for additional red tape, as research shows more than 13 million Americans cannot readily produce citizenship documentation;
  • Leave children stateless, as denying a child U.S. citizenship does not confer citizenship in another country;
  • Deny or delay children health care, food, and other basic needs of everyday childhood;
  • Widen racial disparities in childhood health, education, and development; and
  • Deny America’s economy the benefits of a more racially diverse workforce and consumer base.

“Let’s expect better from someone who wants to lead the free world than amending the Constitution to strip children of their most basic rights,” said Lesley. “This plan would widen racial disparities, deepen child poverty, hunger, and illness, and burden every family in America with more paperwork.”


First Focus is a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.firstfocus.org.