Numbers to keep in mind • More children of illegal immigrants are American citizens by birth
Of the immigration-related bills introduced in Indiana this year, none survived.
Only one seemed to catch the attention of lawmakers, but didn’t make it out of committee; the others were left essentially untouched.
Which may not be surprising, given other urgent matters at hand.
But a new study could add complexity and depth to the illegal immigration debate at the state and national levels.
The study is titled “A Portrait of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States” and it was published last week by the Pew Hispanic Center. It can be read in full on the Web site of the nonpartisan research organization at www.pewhispanic.org.
One of the key findings of the study is that a “growing share” of the children of illegal immigrants are American citizens by birth. That is, while the number of undocumented immigrant children has remained the same, the number of children born here of undocumented parents has risen.
Which some might view as a sign of how long immigration reform has been overdue, while others might use it to try to do away with automatic citizenship.
Yet today it remains a fact that the children of undocumented immigrants born here have the same claim to American citizenship as other Americans.
Why am I bringing this up? Because one of the bills introduced in the state legislature this year would have restricted public benefits to illegal immigrants. And the Pew study seems to cast it in a different light, bringing out some of its unintended, potentially harmful consequences, should it come up again in the future.
For example, the study gives us an idea of just how many American children might be affected by such legislation, and tells us also that it’s these children who are precisely most at need.
According to the study, the children of illegal immigrants are nearly twice as likely as the children of U.S.-born parents to live in poverty. In fact, one in three children of undocumented parents lives in poverty.
And many of them were born in this country. In 2008, the year the data was collected, 73 percent were American by birth, the study found.
That’s three out of four.
That same year, there were 4 million such children living in the States. They and the children of illegal immigrants who are themselves undocumented made up about 7 percent of the students in the nation’s elementary and secondary schools.
Indiana’s share is hefty and growing. According to the study, the number of undocumented immigrants living in Indiana rose from 85,000 in 2005 to 120,000 in 2008.
That is only about 1 percent of the total number of illegal immigrants in the country, but the point is that more of them are raising American children.
And shouldn’t all American children have equal opportunities?
These are numbers to keep in mind.
I Inicio I Locales I Internacionales I Nacionales I Columnas I Entretenimiento I Deportes I Clasificados I Publicidad I Escríbanos I Conózcanos I English Section I Advertise I Contact us I Archivo I Enlaces I
El Puente, LLC. ©