Legal expert Jonathan Turley said Tuesday on The Story that President Trump's plan to curb birthright citizenship will force the courts to take a closer look at the 14th Amendment.

Trump said in an interview with Axios that he intends to restrict birthright citizenship despite those who argue the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to all babies born in the United States.

Turley told Martha MacCallum that the debate over the amendment falls on six particular words within it: "and subject to the jurisdiction thereof."

"We're about 150 years late in finding out what this amendment means," he said.


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The entire 14th Amendment, which was ratified in 1868, states: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

He said the ambiguous wording shows that the amendment's drafters believed non-citizens wouldn't have immediate U.S. citizenship for their children.

"So, there's a good debate here," he said. "I can't imagine how people can say with such certainty that this language means that anyone in the United States for any reason can have a citizen when they give birth on our soil."

Turley also said the Supreme Court has never clearly stated what the amendment means.

It's doubtful, he added, that President Trump could end birthright citizenship through an executive order and said the best way to go is through legislation.

"An executive order is not the ideal way to go here. He's adding baggage to an already difficult challenge."

Watch the interview above.


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