A denial of birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants would end up increasing the size of the nation’s illegal population, according to a new study released Wednesday.
The idea of ending birthright citizenship has become popular among politicians and activists seeking to curb the number of illegal immigrants. But Jennifer Van Hook, a demographer and the report’s principal author, said such a change would instead increase the size of the illegal population, a commonsense result of illegal immigrants having children after a birthright repeal.
The analysis by the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute predicted illegal U.S.-born individuals would number about five million by 2050, if birthright citizenship were repealed in the near future. Currently, the U.S. is home to a total of 11 million illegal immigrants.
“Even assuming an immediate and complete halt in new illegal immigration, repeal of birthright citizenship would generate a large U.S.-born unauthorized population that has the potential to grow,” said Prof. Van Hook, who teaches demography at Pennsylvania State University.