August 16, 2010

About 7% of school age children in Maryland have illegal immigrant as a parent

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By Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com

About 7% of the school age children in Maryland and other states have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant, according to a new study by the Pew Hispanic Center, but four out of five of these children were born in the United States and are U.S. citizens.

Extrapolating from these estimates for this story, that could mean that as many as 60,000 children in Maryland public schools have at least one parent who is an “unauthorized immigrant,” as the Pew Hispanic Center prefers to call them, but only about 10,000 of the kids are foreign born. A federal court ruling said states must educate children, regardless of their immigration status.

State and local taxpayers put out $10,600 to $14,500 a year per pupil for each student.

“Unauthorized immigrants comprise slightly more than 4% of the adult population of the U.S.,” the report released Wednesday said, “but because they are relatively young and have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8%) and the child population (7% of those younger than age 18) in this country.”

These estimates are based on a new analysis of 2009 U.S. Census Data. A 2009 Pew Center report has estimated that there are about 250,000 illegal immigrants in Maryland – about 4.4% of the Maryland population, about average for the states.

This is about the same number estimated for the state by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that favors stricter immigration laws and tougher enforcement of those on the books.

Overall, “because of their youthful age structure and higher fertility rates, immigrant adults are more likely than native-born adults to be parents of children younger than 18,” the Pew report said. As a result, about a quarter of all children in this country 17 and younger (23%) were born to the immigrants who make up about 13% of the U.S. population.

The analysis also found that households with an illegal immigrant as a spouse are more likely to be living as a couple with children. The Pew Center found that 45% of illegal immigrants lived with a spouse or partner and at least one child

Republicans in Congress have moved recently to change the provision in 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that provides anyone born in the United State is a citizen. A June Pew Research poll, which surveyed people on a number of questions related to immigration, found a majority of people (56%) oppose a constitutional change.