U.S. sees rise in children born to illegal immigrants

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The total number of children in the USA born to illegal immigrants on U.S. soil jumped to 4 million in 2009, up from 2.7 million in 2003, a report released Wednesday estimates.

Those children — who are automatically granted U.S. citizenship — represent 5.4% of all children under the age of 18 in the U.S. That compares to 3.7% six years earlier, according to data from the non-partisan Pew Hispanic Center. That percentage will continue rising, as an estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the U.S. in 2008 alone — about 8% — came from illegal immigrant parents, the report says.

The study comes as some legislators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are calling for a revision of the 14th Amendment that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States.

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