Source: Wall Street Journal
By Miriam Jordan
One in 12 babies born in the U.S. in 2008 were offspring of illegal immigrants, according to a new study, an estimate that could inflame the debate over birthright citizenship.
Undocumented immigrants make up slightly more than 4% of the U.S. adult population. However, their babies represented twice that share, or 8%, of all births on U.S. soil in 2008, according to the nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center’s report.
“Unauthorized immigrants are younger than the rest of the population, are more likely to be married and have higher fertility rates than the rest of the population,” said Jeffrey Passel, a senior demographer at Pew in Washington, D.C.
The report, based on Pew’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s March 2009 Current Population Survey, also found that the lion’s share, or 79%, of the 5.1 million children of illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. in 2009 were born in the country and are therefore citizens.
In total, about 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. Latinos account for 75% of undocumented U.S. immigrants and about 85% of the births among that population.
A spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a national group that lobbies for curbing immigration, said Wednesday its studies have yielded numbers similar to those estimated by Pew.
Amid a heated national debate over illegal immigration, some Republican politicians have been calling for changes to the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which grants citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” in order to deny citizenship to children born in the U.S. to unlawful residents.
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