The United States President, Donald Trump has said he plans to stop birthright citizenship through an executive order. He said this in an interview with Axios on HBO on Tuesday.
Birthright citizenship allows any baby born on U.S. soil to automatically be a U.S. citizen.
The statement is a typical Trump style statement, full of bluster without the requisite forethought that should preempt such serious matters of policy, some have said. One thing it has accomplished so far is to get the polity talking, liberals and conservatives as well as beneficiaries of birth tourism and chain migration in lesser economies.
Barring the legal battles the move will undoubtedly attract from liberals who think the immigration policy unconstitutional, if the move goes through, it will massively change the social and cultural landscape of the United States.
For many who have benefited from the birth citizenship privilege as many Nigerians have, this announcement by Donald Trump sends shivers down many spines.
In jocular scenes, many have said the best a Nigerian parent can do for their kid is give them dual citizenship, and the United States is high up there among the preferred destinations of adopted countries. Britain, Canada, and other economically superior western countries are on the list.
This announcement will, however, force Nigerians to evaluate their choices for which country to adopt going forward. Did I hear someone say, well, we’ll go to other countries?
That’s true, 32 countries offer birth citizenships according to a list compiled by Politifacts. However, only the US and Canada still offer unrestricted birthright citizenship among the ‘developed’ countries according to the definition of the International Monetary Fund.
France and Ireland ended their birthright citizenship laws in 1993 and 2005 respectively. In Germany and the United Kingdom, citizenship is now automatically granted to a person if at least one of his or her parents is a citizen or permanent resident.
The more soul-searching question should be what can I do to make my home country livable? More apt would be the question, what is each government doing to empower its citizens so they stay in their countries and build its competitiveness globally?
It’s midterms in the United States and this may just be another election season rhetoric to win points with his base. After all, Trump said exactly the same thing in 2016 during the elections but have done nothing about it until this recent declaration.
Trump recently deployed 5200 to the US Mexico Border to prevent thousands of traveling migrant and refugees in a caravan from entering the country. Immigration is a core concern for Trump and his administration has shown it has the spine to stand by its unpopular policies.
After the initial resistance the traveling ban faced, the courts ended up ruling it as constitutional and it currently stands.
Whether this will be the case with the birthright citizenship law is yet to be seen. For nations whose citizens benefit from chain migration and child tourism, the scene is changing and new solutions will have to be sought.
National Empowerment and local development of resources; physical, natural and human will continue to be the bedrock of progressive democracies and strong nations.
Nigeria knows where it stands on these parameters. There’s always room for improvement and it’s expedient such vacancy is exploited given changing global relations.
The urgency needn’t be overemphasized.