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Trump cites Harry Reid as support to end birthright citizenship

Updated October 31, 2018 - 3:01 pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump unleashed a series of tweets defending his support for ending birthright citizenship for the children of unauthorized immigrants — and he singled out former Nevada Sen. Harry Reid in two separate posts.

Trump posted a c-Span video of Reid addressing the Senate as he introduced his Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993, a bill to revoke birthright citizenship.

“If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again,” said Reid.

“If you break our laws by entering this country without permission to give birth to a child,” Reid continued, “we reward that child with U.S. citizenship.”

In an interview with “Axios on HBO” released Tuesday, Trump said he plans to sign an executive order to end automatic citizenship for babies born in the United States to noncitizens and immigrants in the country illegally.

“Harry Reid, when he was sane, agreed with us on Birthright Citizenship!” Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

Reid changed his position on birthright citizenship while he was still in the Senate. The fact-finding organization PolitiFact rated his position change a “full” flip flop.

In 1999, Reid told the Review-Journal that his bill to end birthright citizenship through legislation is “way up high” on his “list of mistakes.”

The former Senate majority and minority leader also said in a statement Wednesday that “around the time Donald Trump was gobbling up tax-free inheritance money from his wealthy father and driving companies into bankruptcy, I made a mistake.

“After I proposed that awful bill, my wife Landra immediately sat me down and said, ‘Harry, what are you doing, don’t you know that my father is an immigrant?’ She set me straight.”

Reid introduced the bill in August 1993. In August 1994, he wrote an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times in support of his bill and called for a reduction of legal immigration admissions from 1 million to 325,000, objected to the notion that “racism” was behind his views and called his goal to reduce both legal and illegal immigration “a moral imperative.”

The video that Trump posted documented how thoroughly the language surrounding immigration has changed in the last 25 years.

Reid referred to “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant.” In 2013, the Associated Press Stylebook directed users not to use the terms “illegal immigrant,” “illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented” except in direct quotations.

A week earlier, Trump tweeted a video of comments by then Sen. Barack Obama in 2005 about immigration policy. “We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, unchecked and circumventing the line of people who are waiting patiently, diligently and lawfully to become immigrants in this country,” Obama said then.

“The Internet is forever,” said Mark Krikorian of the pro-enforcement Center for Immigration Studies.

Also Wednesday Trump called out House Speaker Paul Ryan for criticizing the president’s plan when he told a Kentucky radio station that “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

Trump tweeted that it was an issue Ryan “knows nothing about” — a clear end to his recent toned-down presence on Twitter.

Contract Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or at 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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