Chelsea Collaborative & Lawyers for Civil Rights Respond to Federal Anti-Immigrant Actions

Immigrant Rights, Racial Justice

President Trump recently announced his intention to issue an executive order terminating “birthright citizenship” for the children of non-citizens born in the United States. This assault on a deeply engrained feature of American society comes as part of an ever escalating war on immigrants.

Over the past two years, we have seen reckless immigration enforcement in sensitive locations including schools, churches, and courthouses; the cruel separation of children from their parents at the border; the systematic cancellation of life-saving immigration programs such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS); proposals to withhold immigration protection and relief from families in public assistance; and sending military troops to the border in response to a peaceful caravan of asylum seekers from Central America.

Collectively, these unprecedented actions are creating a climate of fear for immigrant children and families that has reached a fever-pitch. The Trump Administration has added fuel to the fire by announcing his intention to eliminate “birthright citizenship.”

There is no doubt that the proposed “birthright citizenship” executive order violates the U.S. Constitution and American values.

The Fourteenth Amendment clearly guarantees that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” This amendment was passed in the aftermath of the Civil War specifically to guarantee the citizenship to the children of formerly enslaved people who were being deprived of the rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed to U.S. citizens. Beyond the constitutional infirmities with the proposed order, we know that stripping children of their citizenship is simply inhumane.

Laws alone are not enough.

We have seen time and time again that the Constitution has not been a barrier to illegal executive action by this administration. This is why Lawyers for Civil Rights has gone to court to challenge federal overreach and to protect immigrant communities. It is why the Chelsea Collaborative has worked with its members to make sure they know and can enforce their rights. Together we are making it safer for immigrant families in Massachusetts. We must all unite to combat this most recent proposal and to undue the toxic climate of fear and hate that has emerged in the past two years. Even in this time of great fear we can come together – to ensure hope and safety for immigrants in Massachusetts.