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Five Reasons Obama Is to Blame for Trump Believing He Can Unilaterally End Birthright Citizenship

This morning we found out that President Trump told “Axios on HBO” that he intends to do away with birthright citizenship. Without a doubt, birthright citizenship is a major problem, and it certainly should be done away with. So far, most conservative commentators seem to be echoing this sentiment as well. Andrew McCarthy explained at National Review that even though birthright citizenship is not required by the 14th Amendment, it is a policy that must be addressed legislatively, not via executive order. Senator Lindsey Graham, while acknowledging the problem of birthright citizenship and commending Trump for being “willing to take on this absurd policy,” has announced plans to introduce legislation to end it.

So, why does Trump think he can (or should) end birthright citizenship via executive order? I think the answer is simple: Barack Obama. For eight years, Obama saw the Constitution as something that got in the way of his agenda, and he repeatedly ignored it. Obama infamously claimed “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” and “We can't wait for Congress to do its job, so where they won't act, I will.” For the most part, he got away with it. And Democrats, rather than say, “Oh, no you can’t,” went along with it without objection. Their agenda was too important, and the risks of creating an imperial presidency were inconsequential to them.

And that’s what really gets me about this whole situation. Republicans are already working on a legislative answer to the problem of birthright citizenship, but for eight years, Democrats were accessories to Obama's unconstitutional abuses of power. Here are five examples.

5. Repeated executive orders to “fix” Obamacare

After Democrats passed Obamacare, problems with its implementation kept piling up. Americans found themselves unhappy when the realities didn’t fulfill the promises Obama made, and polls showed that Democrats would pay a heavy price at the ballot box. So, Obama unilaterally made many changes to Obamacare or delayed implementation of various parts until after crucial elections. For example, in 2014 polling suggested an impending electoral disaster for the Democrats because of Obamacare, so Obama infamously delayed the employer mandate for medium-sized businesses until after the elections. Experts on both sides of the aisle believed Obama was exceeding his authority in doing so.

4. Unconstitutional recess appointments

When Democrats took back Congress in 2006, Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid, held “pro forma” sessions of the Senate in order to prevent President George W. Bush from making any recess appointments. In 2012, Obama made some controversial nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and confirmation by the Senate was unlikely. So he bypassed their constitutional role and declared his nominees appointed via recess appointment when the Senate was not in recess, but in a “pro forma” session. That Democrats had previously used “pro forma” sessions to prevent recess appointments under Bush was of no consequence. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed the appointments were made illegally. Even Justice Elena Kagan, an Obama nominee, found herself questioning Obama’s abuse of power. “It really is the Senate’s job to determine whether they’re in recess or whether they’re not," she wrote.