On Monday afternoon, President Trump tweeted that he wanted to help Charlie Gard, the ten-month-old baby being left to die at the hands of the British and European legal systems. Gard’s parents want to spend their own money — money they’ve raised from donors all over the world — to bring Charlie to the United States for potentially life-saving treatment.
Well, here’s what we can do.
Congress has the power under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.” This gives Congress plenary power over naturalization. In the past, Congress has even used its power to grant U.S. citizenship to Jack Kent Cooke, who would go on to buy an interest in the NFL’s Washington Redskins. In 2012, Congress passed a special bill granting Nigerian citizen Sopuruchi Chukwueke legal status in the United States. Honorary American citizens include Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa.
So, why can’t Congress pass a private bill sponsoring Charlie Gard and his parents as American citizens? That would then give us legal standing to challenge Charlie's inability to travel to the United States at the behest of his parents. This could cause conflict with the British legal system. But so what? At least we’ll have done the best we could to save Charlie’s life.