Americans Would Deny Citizenship to Some Born in U.S.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Most people in the United States disagree with the current interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which grants automatic citizenship to all children born on American soil, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 55 per cent of respondents would not grant citizenship to children born to foreigner tourists traveling with valid visas.

In addition, 67 per cent of respondents would deny citizenship to the offspring of people who are in the U.S. illegally.

Seventy per cent of Americans think the children of foreigners with legal documentation, such as students or workers with a proper visa, should be allowed to become American citizens.

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.”

A number of Republican Party politicians, including candidates running for the upcoming legislative election as well as current lawmakers, have recently raised the question of whether the Fourteenth Amendment is being misinterpreted, and have suggested that automatic citizenship rights should not be granted to the children of illegal immigrants.

On Aug. 15, Republican congressman and House minority leader John Boehner said that “it is worth considering” this discussion.

Polling Data

As you may know, 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.” Thinking about the Fourteenth Amendment, do you agree or disagree with the practice of granting U.S. citizenship to children born under each of the following circumstances?

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Agree Disagree Not sure
To a child born to foreigners who are in the U.S. legally (as students or with legal work permits) 70% 26% 4%
To a child born to foreigners who are visiting the U.S. as tourists (with legal travel documents and/or visas) 38% 55% 7%
To a child born to foreigners who are in the U.S. illegally 26% 67% 7%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,003 American adults, conducted on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, 2010. Margin of error is 2.2 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)