-------- Original Message --------
Mr. Selby --
Below is the most relevant info. Feel free to quote as needed. A more
detailed history of the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause will be
provided in a forthcoming CIS report.
If you need anything else, please let me know!
-- Jon Feere
Legal Policy Analyst
Center for Immigration Studies
If the United States were to end the practice of granting automatic
citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants, we would be
following an international trend. Countries that have ended the
practice in recent decades include the United Kingdom (1983),
Australia (1986), Malta (1989), Ireland (2004), New Zealand (2006),
and the Dominican Republic which ended the practice in January 2010.
Today fewer than 30 of the world’s 195 countries grant automatic
citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. No European
country has such a policy. The only advanced economies in the world
with birthright citizenship policies are the United States and Canada.
Other countries are also considering changes.
The reasons these countries have ended automatic birthright
citizenship are diverse, but have resulted from concerns not all that
different from the concerns of many citizens in the United States.
Increased illegal immigration is the main motivating factor. Every
year about 400,000 children are born to illegal immigrants in the
In the United States, both republicans and democrats in Congress have
attempted to initiate debate on the subject of birthright citizenship
for children of illegal aliens in an effort to end the practice here.
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) introduced legislation to end such
birthright citizenship in 1993, and the current Congress saw the
introduction of the “Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009” by
Congressman Nathan Deal (R-Ga.). The current bill has attracted 91
The policy has arguably become standard practice without the consent
of the American public. A recent survey found that only 33 percent of
Americans support the practice of granting automatic citizenship to
children born to illegal aliens. Available at:
An entire industry of “birth tourism” has been created and the
phenomenon of pregnant women traveling to the United States
specifically for the purpose of giving birth on U.S. soil has grown
largely without any debate from Congress, nor the consent of the
public. See this Washington Post article for a recent expose:
Keith B. Richburg, For Many Pregnant Chinese, a U.S. Passport For Baby
Remains a Powerful Lure, WASH. POST, July 18, 2010.
Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/17/AR2010071701402.html
List of "advanced economies" --
International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook Database—WEO
Groups and Aggregates Information, October 2009.
Available at: www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/weodata/groups.htm#ae
Original research by the Center for Immigration Studies found that
only 27 of the world's 195 countries grant automatic birthright
citizenship to children born to illegal aliens. The research is the
product of direct conversations with foreign government officials:
Antigua and Barbuda
Mexico (has automatic "nationality")
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Trinidad and Tobago