Vivek Ramaswamy wants to end birthright citizenship—a longstanding American policy codified in the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution—and take away young people’s right to vote, all in one fell swoop.
The presidential candidate made the call Thursday night on CNN, after being asked about his opponents, Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump, vowing to end birthright citizenship. “For a period of time, I think it’s going to be necessary,” Ramaswamy said.
But the young gun was not satisfied just being in agreement with the leading duo in the Republican race-to-the-repressive-bottom.
“I’ll actually go one step further on this, Abby, is that I don’t think someone just because they’re born in this country, even if they’re a sixth generation American should automatically enjoy all the privileges of citizenship until they’ve actually earned it,” Ramaswamy told CNN’s Abby Phillip. “So one of the things I’ve said is that every high school student who graduates from high school should have to pass the same civics test that every immigrant has to pass in order to become a citizen of this country.”
Surveys in the past have shown that most people would likely fail a basic multiple choice citizenship test; one survey found just 36 percent of respondents actually passing such a test. And given Republicans’ all-out assault on public school education, it’s unclear what their plan would be to up those numbers.
After publishing, Ramaswamy senior adviser Tricia McLaughlin said the proposal refers “to civic duty voting via constitutional amendment.” According to Ramaswamy’s website, this would mean raising the voting age to 25, while still generously “allowing all Americans to vote at age 18” only if they serve at least six months in the military or as a first responder, or pass the citizenship test.
Yet another successful pair of Republican talking points: seizing the right to vote from young people, and forcing people to join a military that has used trillions of American dollars to wreak carnage across the world, and leave its foot soldiers out to dry upon their return.
Anyhow, Ramaswamy’s brilliant proposal to seemingly strip citizenship from so many Americans came after Phillip noted that both of Ramaswamy’s parents are immigrants, and so birthright citizenship “was in play” for him when he became a citizen.
Yet, instead of making the citizenship process easier to navigate, Ramaswamy instead wants to make it harder for anyone to be a citizen. More than that, the presidential candidate’s formulation lays out tiers of citizenship—a matrix in which, until one passes this test, they would be a second-class citizen. While this country already treats scores of people—immigrants, LGBTQ people, laborers, the homeless, and young people—as such, Ramaswamy thinks that unfair treatment should be legally bound.