DeSantis Vows to End Birthright Citizenship as President

Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images

By Giselle Balido

June 27, 2023

The Florida governor promised that he would use all means necessary to advance his policies, including, critics say, one that violates the 14th Amendment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday pledged to end birthright citizenship, embracing a blatantly unconstitutional proposal as he seeks to rescue his ailing presidential campaign.

Appearing before supporters in the border town of Eagle Pass, Texas, DeSantis said that if elected president, he would do act to ensure that the children of undocumented immigrants born in the United States are not entitled to citizenship.

DeSantis’ pledge follows a similar one from former president and current 2024 Republican primary frontrunner Donald Trump.

Birthright citizenship, a right granted under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States […] are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

The Constitution also says that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

‘A Big Change, Very Quickly’

Much like Trump before him in 2016, DeSantis has leaned heavily into anti-immigration rhetoric on the campaign trail, even making it a priority to use his power to crack down on undocumented immigrants in Florida. DeSantis has repeatedly trafficked migrants from Florida to New York and California, effectively treating them as a political football to advance his agenda and appear tough on immigration.

He and the Republican-led legislature also passed a law this year that requires Medicaid-funded hospitals ask about patients’ immigration status, and another one that forces companies with more than 25 employees to use the federal E-Verify system for new hires starting July 1. State law enforcement officials will also be empowered to randomly audit businesses suspected of hiring undocumented workers.

Undocumented immigrants make up a significant percentage of workers in Florida’s agriculture, construction and hospitality sectors and the law has already had a chilling effect on their willingness to show up to work, as videos have circulated on social media showing empty job sites and fields that were previously teeming with workers.

The Florida Policy Institute, a nonprofit policy research group, projects that the loss of undocumented workers could cause some of these industries to lose 10% of their workforce, which would lead to a $12.6 billion loss in Florida’s annual GDP.

During Monday’s rally, DeSantis vowed that he would use every bit of government power possible to crack down on undocumented immigrants and migrants at the border.

RELATED: What ‘Make America Florida’ Might Actually Mean

DeSantis announced that as president he would:

  • Embrace the use of deadly force and allow U.S. personnel to kill certain people trying to get past the border wall.
  • Cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to “sanctuary jurisdictions” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law, and deputize state and local governments to enforce immigration law.
  • End a policy that allows migrants to be released into the U.S. while they await their asylum hearing.
  • Give Texas law enforcement the authority to deport individuals.
  • Reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy to make asylum-seekers—who in most cases are fleeing persecution and potential death in their home countries—wait in Mexico for hearings in U.S. immigration courts. Such a plan would need Mexico’s approval.

He also took the opportunity on Monday to take a jab at former president Donald Trump, his rival contender for the GOP nomination to the presidency, saying that he would also finish Trump’s “still incomplete” border wall.

‘Cruel and Callous Policies’

In response to Monday’s rally, Democrats slammed DeSantis, claiming his immigration plan would violate the 14th Amendment, ignore established asylum law, and incorporate racism into American policy.

“Ron DeSantis has repeatedly used young children and families as pawns in his shallow political stunts to pander to the MAGA base,” Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said. “This latest plan is more of the same — political gimmicks that are merely an echo of the same cruel and callous policies of the Trump administration that broke our immigration system.”

Looking for a news source that centers on Boricuas in Florida? Sign up for our free newsletter.


  • Giselle Balido

    Giselle is Floricua's political correspondent. She writes about the economy, environmental and social justice, and all things Latino. A published author, Giselle was born in Havana and grew up in New Jersey and Miami. She is passionate about equality, books, and cats.



Local News

Related Stories
Share This