With one week left before the Nov. 6 midterm vote, President Trump and his allies in Congress have managed to establish immigration policy as the de facto dominant issue with the revelation that Trump is planning an executive order to eliminate birthright citizenship in the US. But in the event that Trump's order is challenged and overturned by the federal courts (which is extremely possible despite the confirmations of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh), South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a former adversary turned staunch Congressional ally, said Tuesday that he would introduce legislation to eliminate what he described as an "absurd" policy.
First, Graham - who is rumored to be on Trump's shortlist of candidates for a cabinet role after a post-election cleanout - applauded Trump for his decision (which he made public in an Axios interview published Tuesday morning)...
Finally, a president willing to take on this absurd policy of birthright citizenship. https://t.co/kCa0ko7P76— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
...then followed this up by declaring that he has always supported eliminating birthright citizenship, noting that the US is "one of only two countries in the world" that establishes citizenship by birth (though the accurate number is closer to 30). He argued that the policy is a magnet for illegal immigration and is "out of the mainstream" for the developed world and "needs to come to an end."
I’ve always supported comprehensive immigration reform – and at the same time – the elimination of birthright citizenship.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
The United States is one of two developed countries in the world who grant citizenship based on location of birth.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
This policy is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end.
To help eliminate birthright, Graham said he would introduce legislation "along the same lines" as the executive order.
In addition, I plan to introduce legislation along the same lines as the proposed executive order from President @realDonaldTrump.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 30, 2018
While some have speculated that eliminating birthright would require amending the constitution, Trump has insisted that this isn't the case, and given the conservative majority on the Supreme Court, many legal experts believe an act of Congress would more than suffice (though the court could also choose to uphold an executive order and toss out any lower court ruling as well).
As Trump deploys thousands of additional troops to the border to brace for the arrival of two caravans of migrants (who almost certainly won't arrive before the vote, but instead will most likely reach the US months later) it's becoming increasingly clear that immigration has become the dominant issue of this election cycle - which bodes well for Republicans, since Trump's hardline immigration policies have been credited for helping distinguish his campaign from the other Republicans seeking the nomination. Meanwhile, Democrats have sought to make health care the defining issue of the election cycle, to mixed results (of course, their efforts were complicated by preliminary data showing that ObamaCare premiums are set to fall next year for the first time since the law came into effect in 2014).