Washington: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants more than a wall along the US-Mexico border. He also wants to end "birthright citizenship" for the children of immigrants living in the US illegally, he said on Sunday.
And he would rescind Obama administration executive orders on immigration and toughen deportation, allowing in only "the good ones."
Trump described his expanded vision of how to secure American borders during a wide-ranging interview Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," saying that he would push to end the constitutionally protected citizenship rights of children of any family living illegally inside the US.
"They have to go," Trump said, adding: "What they're doing, they're having a baby. And then all of a sudden, nobody knows ... The baby's here."
Native-born children of immigrants — even those living illegally in the US have been automatically considered American citizens since the adoption of the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution in 1868.
The odds of repealing the amendment's citizenship clause would be steep, requiring the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and support from three-fourths of the nation's state legislatures. Republicans in Congress have pushed without success to repeal that provision since 2011.
"They're illegal," Trump said, describing native-born children of people living illegally in the US. "You either have a country or not."
Trump has made immigration the focal point of his campaign since announcing his candidacy in June. His tough stance on immigration has appealed to a segment of the Republican base and helped the former reality TV star vault to the top of polls of the crowded Republican presidential field. But it also threatens to undermine Republican efforts to woo the growing bloc of Hispanic voters needed to win key battleground states in presidential elections.
Trump's remarks came as his campaign website posted his program for "immigration reform." Among its details: Making Mexico pay for a permanent border wall. Mandatory deportation of all "criminal aliens." Tripling the force of immigration officers by eliminating tax credit payments to immigrant families residing illegally in the US.
He said that families with US-born children could return quickly if deemed worthy by the government. "We're going to try and bring them back rapidly, the good ones," he said, adding: "We will expedite it so people can come back in. The good people can come back."