One in 15 kids in U.S. has illegal-immigrant parents

Liz Goodwin
The Upshot

Though illegal immigrants are only 4 percent of the U.S. population, their offspring make up about 7 percent of all children under 18 in the country, according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center.

About four out of five of those children were born in the country and are U.S. citizens. In total, 4 million U.S.-born children have at least one illegal immigrant parent. Some anti-illegal immigration activists call these children "anchor babies," a derogatory term that means the child anchors his illegal-immigrant parents to the country.

Meanwhile, a CNN poll finds that 49 percent of Americans approve of amending the Constitution to prevent U.S.-born children from automatically being granted citizenship if their parents are in the country illegally.

It's unclear whether either of these findings will have an effect on the push by some Republican senators to hold hearings on the 14th Amendment and its citizenship provisions.

Meanwhile, the 1.1 million children with illegal-immigrant parents who are not U.S. citizens may face a struggle to obtain legal status as adults. Immigrant college students who entered the country illegally as children may qualify for legal status if Congress passes the Dream Act. In the photo above, a 10-year-old demonstrates on behalf of its passage.

Photo: AP