SALINA — Candidates running to represent the Kansas First Congressional District in Congress shared their views this week on birthright citizenship, following an unexpected announcement from President Donald Trump that he is considering issuing an executive order to end the practice of granting U.S. citizenship to the children of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants.

Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, and Alan LaPolice, D-Clyde, are running to represent the Kansas First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Trump announced his opposition to birthright citizenship during a Monday interview with the Axios news organization. Trump told Axios he was considering issuing an executive order to end the practice.

Many legal scholars agree that birthright citizenship is protected by the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was adopted to provide equal rights to African-Americans and former slaves following the conclusion of the U.S. Civil War.

The relevant portion of the 14th amendment 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.”

The president and other opponents of birthright citizenship argue that children born to people who enter the U.S. illegally aren’t “subject to the jurisdiction” of the U.S. and therefore don’t qualify for U.S. citizenship. If an executive order is issued, it would almost certainly be challenged in court.


Positions & Priorities

LaPolice expressed his support for birthright citizenship in a news release Tuesday.

“Undoing the Constitution’s protections for U.S.-born citizens is not a solution to illegal immigration,” LaPolice stated. “I believe we can find real solutions to illegal immigration. It will require hard work by the next Congress and the administration, and I am ready to do my part. I am not ready to stay silent in the face of ill-advised attacks on our Constitution. I believe in the values that the Constitution stands for: the rule of law and equal rights for all citizens. We should welcome — not reject — people who share those values.”

When asked by the Journal Thursday morning if he would be willing to vote in favor of a bill that ended birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, Marshall said he had not yet decided his position.

Marshall said that he would remain dedicated to pursuing his priorities on immigration.

“My priorities are to secure the border and figure out a long-term immigration policy that is fair to all concerned that prioritizes people who can take care of themselves and their families,” he said. “That is why I have always prioritized border security along with taking care of DACA recipients, but mostly Kansas needs an agriculture guest worker visa.”