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South Florida Republicans come out against Trump on birthright citizenship issue

'Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution,' Curbelo says

Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart (left), Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Curbelos disagreed with the president.
Republicans Mario Diaz-Balart (left), Maria Elvira Salazar and Carlos Curbelos disagreed with the president. (Getty Images)

MIAMI – Several South Florida Republicans have come out strongly against President Donald Trump's plan to do away with birthright citizen through an executive order.

U.S. Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart issued statements Tuesday disagreeing with the president's plan. Both congressmen represent districts with large immigrant communities and are the midst of competitive races for re-election.

"Birthright citizenship is protected by the Constitution, so no Donald Trump you can’t end it by executive order," Curbelo said. "What we really need is broad immigration reform that makes our country more secure and reaffirms our wonderful tradition as a nation of immigrants."

Republican Maria Elvira Salazar, who is running to replace to Rep. Ileana Ros-Ileana in Florida's 27th Congressional District, also disagreed with the president on the issue. Salazar is in a tight race against former University of Miami President Donna Shalala.

"Donald Trump, our Constitution is sacred," Salazar said. "Focus efforts on immigration reform that secures our borders and is true to our legacy of being a nation of immigrants," Salazar said.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running to unseat Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, walked away after a Miami Herald reporter asked him a question about the birthright citizen issue.

In a statement issued to the newspaper later, the governor's staff said Scott needed more information about the policy before giving his opinion.

Ron DeSantis, the Republican candidate for governor and a staunch supporter of the president, said he agreed with Trump about ending birthright citizenship, but he questioned whether an executive order was the way to do it.

"As a matter of policy I don't think the Constitution intended that people could come illegally in order to get citizenship," DeSantis told the Tampa Bay Times.

Most legal scholars said the move would violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

Some conservatives say birthright citizenship encourages migrants to travel to the U.S. to have children, who then become citizens. These children are sometimes derisively referred to as anchor babies.

Many South Florida Democrats took to Twitter to condemn the president's plan: