E.g., 09/18/2019
E.g., 09/18/2019

The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship

Policy Briefs
September 2010

The Demographic Impacts of Repealing Birthright Citizenship

Repealing birthright citizenship for U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants, discussed in some circles as a means to reduce illegal immigration, would significantly increase the size of the unauthorized immigrant population in the United States, from 11 million today to 16 million by 2050.

Much of the debate surrounding the 2009 Birthright Citizenship Act and ensuing discussions have turned on the meaning and intent of the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause and whether U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrants are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. As this brief explains, birthright citizenship repeal would set in motion the creation of a self-perpetuating class of unauthorized immigrants who would be excluded from social membership for generations.

This analysis shows that by 2050, there would be 4.7 million unauthorized immigrants who had been born in the United States, 1 million of whom would have two U.S.-born parents.

Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. How Would Repeal Affect the Size of the Unauthorized Population?

III. Prospects for Hispanic Incorporation

IV. Perpetuating Disadvantage Across Generations

V. Differing Assumptions

VI. Conclusions