Birth Tourism by Illegal Immigrants and 14th Amendment

By: Michael Stevens
Staff Writer
Published: Sep 6, 2010

Birth tourism is a strong nationwide debate involving illegal immigrants and the 14th Amendment.

Birth tourism by illegal immigrants and 14th Amendment. A recent study shows 8 percent of the 4.3 million babies born in the U.S. in 2008 had at least one illegal parent. While the birth rate is low, Republicans want to change the 14th Amendment to deny automatic citizenship.

Tourism and babies born in the United States by illegal immigrants are prompting nationwide debate. Republicans are pushing to change the 14th Amendment. They believe the measure is being abused by illegal immigrants and encouraging birth rates.

However, a closer examination of the issue shows that the trend is not as dramatic as some immigration opponents have claimed. Most children of illegal immigrants are born to parents who have made the United States their home for years, although they are in the country illegally. Out of 340,000 babies born to illegal immigrants in the United States in 2008, 85 percent of the parents had been in the country for more than a year, and more than half for at least five years.

In addition, experts say it's extraordinarily rare for immigrants to come to the U.S. just so they can have babies and get citizenship. In most cases, they come to the U.S. for economic reasons and better hospitals, and end up staying and raising families. Under current immigration law, parents who are in the country illegally don't get U.S. citizenship even though their children are Americans.