Trump’s Wish List: No More Birthright, More Troops


To the Editor:Re “Trump Wants to Use Executive Order to End Birthright Citizenship” (, Oct. 30):As the immigrant parent of a United States citizen born before I was naturalized, I found that President Trump’s exclusionary statements around birthright citizenship hit close to home. The argument by the president and others that the 14th Amendment language “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” indicates birthright citizenship applies only to children of citizens and permanent residents fails on its face. How many of the freed slaves this amendment was written for, some descendants of Thomas Jefferson aside, had a parent who was a permanent resident or citizen?As a social worker and psychologist concerned about the impact of hostile rhetoric on immigrant children, regardless of status, I also worry that arguments that we should not give oxygen to absurd pre-election statements by the president fail to appreciate that it is not just whether he will actually try to end birthright citizenship that could hurt kids. Living in an environment in which their legitimacy is constantly under question is harmful to child health and well-being in and of itself and must not go unchallenged.Michael J. MacKenzieMontrealThe writer is a professor of social work at McGill University.To the Editor:No other developed countries besides Canada and the United States offer birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants. Not in Europe or Asia is this a right. Many countries have some requirement either of a parent or a duration of stay by parent or child, which can then be followed by an application for citizenship.Andrea EconomosHartsdale, N.Y. To the Editor: Re “Thousands of Troops Will Be Sent to Border” (news article, Oct. 30):President Trump’s order to send armed troops to the border in case a group of poor migrants from Honduras arrives to request asylum is as stupid as his rhetoric. This exhausted ragtag bunch of families fleeing crime and poverty in Central America poses no danger to our country. Mr. Trump has called them an “invasion,” a word that stokes fear and may have contributed to the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.Sending an army to meet these unarmed migrants runs the risk of escalating what seems to be a fairly unremarkable group approaching our border. I suggest the president skip the army and send in a team of trained professionals that might include medical helpers and immigration attorneys, along with food trucks ready to set out a welcome meal for these tired travelers.We might try to improve the processing so those who are eligible for asylum can transition into looking for jobs and homes. That’s what they’re here for, not to cause harm. They’ve bought into the American dream, and we should help them find it. Virginia KimballPasadena, Calif.To the Editor:While I understand and am entirely sympathetic to the plight and aspirations of those in the migrant caravan, I wonder what they hope to accomplish. It is unlikely that they will be permitted to enter the country, no matter how evident their desperation, so what will they do after being turned away at the border?Is their effort then merely symbolic — like a march on Washington — intended to focus attention on their distress and on the immigration policies that would deny them entry, or is it something more, and if so, what? Lawrence WeismanWestport, Conn.

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