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(08/17/10) -

Americans Reject Granting Citizenship to Children of Tourists and Illegal Residents

The practice of granting U.S. citizenship to a child born to foreigners who are in the country legally is supported by seven-in-ten Americans.

The practice of granting U.S. citizenship to a child born to foreigners who are in the country legally is supported by seven-in-ten Americans.

A majority of Americans believe that children born to tourists and illegal residents should not be granted U.S. citizenship, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

The online survey of 1,003 American adults also shows that more than two-thirds of respondents have no problem with granting U.S. citizenship to children born to foreigners who are in the U.S. legally.

The Fourteenth Amendment

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

Over the past few weeks, there have been many discussions about the interpretation of this amendment, which have centered mostly on the issue of birth tourists and the offspring of illegal immigrants.

A majority of Americans (70%) agree with allowing children born to foreigners who are in the U.S. legally (as students or with legal work permits) to become citizens.

When it comes to two other categories, the American public is not as sympathetic. More than half of respondents (55%) disagree with granting U.S. citizenship to a child born to foreigners who are visiting the U.S. as tourists (with legal travel documents and/or visas), and two-thirds (67%) disagree with of granting U.S. citizenship to a child born to foreigners who are in the U.S. illegally.

Political Allegiance

While 57 per cent of Democratic Party supporters would reject granting citizenship to children born to foreigners who are in the country illegally, the proportion is significantly higher for Independents (70%) and Republicans (82%).

At least three-in-five Independents (61%) and Republicans (68%) reject granting citizenship to a child born to foreigners who are visiting the U.S. as tourists. Democrats are evenly divided on the issue (Agree 48%, Disagree 46%).

Our July 2010 survey on immigration can be accessed here.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

CONTACT:

Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs
+877 730 3570
mario.canseco@angus-reid.com

Methodology: From August 12 to August 13, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,003 randomly selected American adults who are Springboard USA panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of the United States. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.