House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shot down President Donald Trump's idea to eliminate birthright citizenship through an executive order, saying "you obviously cannot do that."
In an interview with WVLK radio in Lexington, Kentucky, on Tuesday, the retiring lawmaker, who rarely breaks with the president, asserted the "14th Amendment's pretty clear."
"You obviously cannot do that – you cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order," Ryan said, The Washington Times reported.
"We didn't like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action, and obviously as conservatives, we believe in the Constitution," Ryan said. "I'm a believer in following the plain text of the Constitution, and I think in this case, the 14th Amendment's pretty clear, and that would involve a very, very lengthy constitutional process."
"I believe in interpreting the Constitution as its written, and that means you can't do something like this via executive order," Ryan added.
Ryan told the radio station there is room for an argument over the constitutional question, but said there is no doubt the president is wrong about being able to use an executive order, the Times reported.
"What is very clear is you can't change this via executive fiat – at the very least it would have to be statutory through Congress."
The rejection came hours after Trump, in an interview with Axios on HBO, declared he planned to draft an executive order that would terminate birthright citizenship for children of non-citizens who are born in the United States.
Also, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday he believes it would take a constitutional amendment to change birthright citizenship.
"I am not a lawyer, but it seems to me it would take a constitutional amendment to change that as opposed to an executive order," Grassley told an Iowa CBS station.
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