President Donald Trump claimed this week that he can eliminate the application of birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants by way of executive order, sparking an argument over his presidential power to do so on both sides of the aisle.
Many have noted that four of Trump’s own children were born to immigrants, and though some have wrongly claimed those children would have been affected by Trump’s reinterpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the president’s situation does reveal an element of hypocrisy.
According to Snopes, which reported on the subject in 2015 while Trump campaigned for the presidency, the president’s first wife, Ivana Trump, was not a U.S. citizen at the time their first child was born.
Ivana Trump moved to New York from her native Czechoslovakia around 1976 and married Trump in April of 1977. Their eldest child, a son named Donald Jr., was born in December 1977. It’s likely the Trumps settled any lingering immigration matters during the time between their marriage and Trump Jr.’s birth in late 1977. More to the point: even if Ivana Trump had not yet been granted permanent residency in the U.S., their son would be entitled to citizenship under Trump’s plan because he was born in the United States to an American citizen father.
Ivana was not granted citizenship until 1988, according to The Associated Press — four years after she gave birth to their third child, Eric Trump.