President Donald Trump said he “very well may” sign an executive order attempting to end birthright citizenship, citing former President Barack Obama’s order setting up the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as adequate legal precedent.
As two caravans of Central American migrants head toward the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said he is prepared to order up to 10,000 to 15,000 American military troops to assist law enforcement entities to prevent illegal crossings. And he said he plans to erect tent cities along the southern border to house undocumented migrants who enter the country illegally, again criticizing the so-called catch-and-release program that he contends let tens of millions of “illegal” immigrants into the United States.
In an interview with Fox News that aired Monday night, Trump said he planned to sign an executive order ending the citizenship practice. But two days later, he offered the qualifier “may.”
As he left the White House for a campaign rally in Florida, Trump also addressed a question on whether he will blame Speaker Paul D. Ryan should Republicans lose control of the house in Tuesday’s midterms. Earlier in the day, he tweeted that the GOP leader should focus more on keeping his majority and less on birthright citizenship.
“No, I’m not going to blame anybody,” he said.
“I believe you could have a simple vote in Congress,” he said of birthright citizenship. But said in the next breath he believes “we can do this by executive order.”
If Democrats take the House, however, such a vote would be anything but simple for Trump and Republicans who also favor ending the citizenship for children born here.
“Certainly if he can do DACA, we can do this,” he said, referring to an executive order.
Trump denied when asked by a reporter if he is merely stoking fears about undocumented migrants before a crucial election.
“I’m not fear-mongering at all,” he said, though he’s called the caravans “very dangerous.”
At one point during another mini-South Lawn press conference, he claimed a third caravan is “forming” in El Salvador.