With Donald Trump making the elimination of birthright citizenship a central 2016 topic, The Wall Street Journal rounded up the numbers as to who benefits from the U.S.’s longstanding practice of granting citizenship to children born on American soil regardless of their parents’ legal status.
The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 4.5 million children of undocumented immigrants have citizenship thanks to the practice, the Wall Street Journal reported, and 300,000 children annually are born in the United States to undocumented immigrants, Pew figures say.
Supporters for ending birthright citizenship say the policy attracts immigrants to cross the border in order to deliver so-called “anchor babies.” Most legal scholars contend that birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, so some Republicans are now floating a constitutional amendment. Others on the right believe the practice could be changed merely with legislation.
The Wall Street Journal tally also cited a Migrant Policy Center report that shows that the number of undocumented immigrants would increase to 16 million by 2050 if birthright citizenship is ended.