Fifty percent (50%) of voters nationwide believe that a child born in the United States to an illegal immigrant should be considered a U.S. citizen. A ScottRasmussen.com national survey found that 39% disagree and 11% are not sure.
Just 28% of Republicans favor birthright citizenship which may explain why President Trump has raised the issue in recent days. Seventy percent (70%) of Democrats believe that any child born in the U.S. should be considered a citizen, a view shared by 48% of Independent voters (see question wording and crosstab results).
Among those voters who are currently undecided or are planning to vote for a third party candidate, just 41% support birthright citizenship.
Most legal analysts believe that the U.S. Constitution guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the country. Seventy-six percent (76%) of voters recognize that current law provides citizenship to all born here.
The national survey of 1,000 Registered Voters was conducted November 1-2, 2018 by ScottRasmussen.com and HarrisX, a polling company specializing in online surveys (see Methodology and the demographic profile of our sample). It has a 3.1 percentage point Margin of Error with a 95% level of confidence.
Beyond the immediate issue of birthright citizenship, many conservatives have expressed concern about the impact “chain migration.” Under current federal law, U.S. citizens can sponsor their relatives to become legal U.S. residents and citizens. If a child born here is a citizen, he or she can sponsor relatives for legal immigration. Between 60 and 70 percent of all lawful permanent immigration to the United States in the past decade has family-based roots.
Voters are not supportive of this process. In the case of a pregnant woman who enters the country illegally and has her child, just 38% believe she should be allowed to remain in the country after giving birth. Additionally, among all voters, just 21% believe the new mother’s relatives should be allowed to enter the United States.
Overall, 77% believe that our immigration system should prioritize people with skills that could benefit the economy rather than granting legal status to people with relatives in the United States. That view is shared across partisan and demographic lines.
Underlying these attitudes is a strong belief among voters that legal immigration is good for the country while illegal immigration is bad. Such attitudes acknowledge that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. It also helps explain why 65% of voters support sending troops to our southern border.
The mission of ScottRasmussen.com is to enhance the public dialogue through data-driven analysis that explores the underlying currents of public opinion (read About Us). Sign up to receive the latest insights each day via email. You can also follow our work on Twitter and Facebook.
Neither Scott Rasmussen nor ScottRasmussen.com has any relationship with Rasmussen Reports® (see About Us).