WASHINGTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey is among those criticizing President Donald Trump for saying he wants to end birthright citizenship for babies born to non-citizens and immigrants not authorized to be in the U.S.

The president’s comments to “Axios on HBO” come amid a renewed push for hardline immigration policies before the midterm elections. Trump believes focusing on immigration will energize his supporters and help Republicans keep control of Congress.

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Markey says Trump’s comments are “an attempt to stroke xenophobic resentment before the election.”

Constitutional experts are questioning Trump’s legal ability to limit a constitutional amendment on birthright citizenship without Congress’ consent.

Sarah Turberville directs The Constitution Project at the Project on Government Oversight and says Trump is “not a king” and “can’t announce what the law is.”

Other experts said Tuesday such an executive order might be possible if narrowly drawn but would violate the spirit of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

Asked about the legality of such an executive order, Trump said “they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

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Trump says White House lawyers are reviewing his proposal. It’s unclear how quickly he’d act on an executive order.

As early as 2015, Trump characterized birthright citizenship as a “magnet” for illegal immigration and the 14th Amendment as “questionable” in this context.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press’ Zeke Miller and Colleen Long contributed to this report.)


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