ORANGE CITY, IA -- Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says that as president, he would deport American-born children of undocumented immigrants.
"The family unit will be deported," said Ramaswamy when asked by NBC News if the deportations would include American-born children, after a packed town hall here Friday.
These children, however, are U.S. citizens, regardless of their parents' immigration status. The 14th Amendment states that “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.”
When asked again if these children would be deported along with their families, Ramaswamy doubled down.
"That is correct," he said.
Ramaswamy, like some other conservatives, believes the 14th Amendment does not confer birthright citizenship.
"Under the legal theory that the child of an illegal immigrant is not someone who enjoys birthright citizenship, then it would be perfectly legally permissible to remove the entire family unit," he said.
Even Ramaswamy acknowledges his plan stands on dubious grounds.
"There are legally contested questions under the 14th Amendment of whether the child of an illegal immigrant is indeed a child who enjoys birthright citizenship," he says. "They are contested."
Ramaswamy isn't the only GOP presidential hopeful with his own take on the 14th Amendment. In a border policy announcement in June, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's campaign insinuated that birthright citizenship isn't necessarily a given for the children of undocumented immigrants, calling it "inconsistent with the original understanding of the 14th Amendment."
Former President Donald Trump also promised to end birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrations if re-elected.
This is Ramaswamy's latest hardline stance on immigration. The 38-year-old up-and-coming Republican frequently touts his policy of sending the U.S. military to the Southern and Northern borders and stated a willingness to use drone strikes on Mexican drug cartels.