According to a new report by the Pew Hispanic Center titled Unauthorized Immigrants and Their U.S. –Born Children, 8 percent of the 4.3 million children born in the United States in 2008 were the offspring of unauthorized immigrants. Jeff Passel is the senior demographer on the project and the author of the report. He says that the study paints a complicated picture of blended family structures that include unauthorized immigrants. "If you look at households headed by unauthorized immigrants, almost half of them, 45 %, are couples with one or more children," he says. "I think that’s something that’s really not well known."
Passel says that a consequence of this is that nearly a third of all unauthorized immigrants are the parents of US citizens. He also points out that often policy around immigration issues tends to focus on individuals without much consideration of families. "Each person can be classified as a legal immigrant, an undocumented immigrant, or as a US Citizen, and the policies are structured to deal with people in those categories. But, if we look at families they don’t fit neatly into those categories."