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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Illegal Immigrant Births

Note from lyle: I'd be interested to know the percentage in California, Arizona and Texas. I'm betting it's closer to 20%.
(Emphasis added below is mine):

From: The WSJ


Study Says One in 12 U.S. Births From Illegal Immigrants
AUGUST 12, 2010

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 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.

Late last month, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham announced his support for reconsidering automatic U.S. citizenship for babies born to undocumented immigrants. He said the status quo enticed people to enter the country illegally and have children to qualify for U.S. benefits.

Recently, Mr. Graham's idea has been embraced by several lawmakers, including Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, where state legislators passed a controversial law to quash illegal immigration. A federal judge stayed major portions of the law on July 28; the case has been appealed.

Legislation to amend birthright citizenship stalled when it was introduced in the past decade in the House. It would require a vote of two-thirds of the House and Senate, and would have to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures.

Proponents of amending the 14th Amendment, which was enacted in 1868, say it was intended to guarantee citizenship to freed slaves after the Civil War, not the offspring of illegal immigrants. Their proposals are expected to appeal to conservative Republican voters as immigration emerges as a central issue in November's elections.

GOP opponents of repealing birthright citizenship say it undermines the party's electoral prospects among Hispanics, the nation's largest minority and fastest-growing group. Generally, Democrats are strongly opposed to repeal.

Mr. Passel said that the Pew analysis found that more than 80% of the undocumented immigrant mothers who gave birth in the U.S. had been in the country at least a year, and that many had been here about a decade.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1
Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The purpose of fighting is to win.

Note: The Pew Organization is an independent, non-partisan study group that takes no position on policy decisions.

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