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Audrey Watters

Revoking Citizenship

2 min read

Cross-posted to Facebook

I don’t believe Trump’s tweets – even when they seem unhinged – are a “distraction.” And that’s even if he very much hopes you talk about the tweet rather than whatever latest scandal is making headlines. I do believe that we can pay attention to more than one thing and be horrified about more than one thing and take action against more than one thing at once.

Take today’s flag-burning tweet, for example.

It’s important – and horrific – because of his obvious disregard for the First Amendment.

But it’s important too because of Trump’s threat to revoke citizenship for those who burn flags. As it stands, citizenship is guaranteed to all who are born in the US under the 14th Amendment. There is no clause therein for the revocation of citizenship.

“The 14th Amendment guarantees he can’t do this,” I’ve seen several people say today in response to Trump’s flag-burning tweet.

But the 14th Amendment is under attack already by Trump. He, along with many on the right, want to get rid of birthright citizenship, something that, as a matter of practice, the government believes is granted by that very amendment. This is one of many policies the right has sought to adopt, they claim, in order to curb illegal immigration. Trump believes that to change this practice would not require a constitutional amendment – just a law that clarified who was actually eligible for citizenship.

When Trump talks about revoking citizenship, we shouldn’t scoff. He has already expressed interest in pursuing precisely this idea…