Despite threats to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to individuals born on U.S. soil, an executive order cannot eliminate birthright citizenship.
Presidential orders or actions cannot change or revoke amendments to the Constitution. They can only be revoked or changed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress or by a constitutional convention called by two-thirds of the state legislatures.
What is Birthright Citizenship?
Birthright citizenship means anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, regardless of their parents’ immigration status. The 14th Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1868. It granted citizenship to freed slaves after the Civil War. Laws passed by Congress have extended birthright citizenship to individuals born in U.S. territories including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Green Cards for Parents
U.S. citizen children can petition for a green card for their parents, but only once they reach the age of 21. And these petitions remain challenging, especially if the parents are undocumented. We recommend contacting an immigration lawyer before a U.S. citizen child turns 21 to determine whether green card sponsorship is possible.
Undocumented parents who are sponsored by adult children must attend a green card interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. What makes the situation even more complex is the three- and 10-year bars. Individuals who spend time in the U.S. unlawfully—without a valid visa, green card, or other permission from immigration authorities—face severe consequences.
Parents who have been in the U.S. without legal status for over 180 days will be banned from returning—even if they have a green card. They will need to obtain an unlawful presence waiver. They need a waiver after getting an immigrant visa and before they return to the U.S., become a permanent resident, and receive a green card in the mail. This is a complex, high-stakes process, so you should definitely consult with an attorney before you take that step.
Please reach out to our team if you have any questions about birthright citizenship, green cards for parents, or hardship waivers. We can help you determine the best path forward for you and your family. If you found this post helpful, please let us know in the comments section below.