Citizenship Matters: How Children of Immigrants Will Sway the Future of Politics

Manuel Pastor, Justin Scoggins, Vanessa Carter & Jared Sanchez
Date of Publication: 
July, 2014
Source Organization: 
Center for American Progress

Citizenship Matters assesses the long-term political consequences of a failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. They argue that those who fear that a path to citizenship for the undocumented will be a path to defeat for the Republican Party are misguided in their thinking.

The path to citizenship in the Senate bill would take at least 13 years, allowing both parties time to win over voters-to-be. Polling also indicates that close to 20 percent of undocumented immigrants identify with or lean toward the Republican Party, while 45 percent would be open to voting Republican if the Party played a leadership role in passing immigration reform. But the most compelling political argument for action, according to the authors, is that millions of new citizens, both foreign-born and native-born, are linked to the undocumented both through membership in "mixed status" families and through a shared commitment to immigration reform. Both the citizen children of undocumented immigrants and the citizen children of all immigrants will form a pool of 15.4 million new voters by 2032. The number would rise to 19.3 million if the children of all Hispanic and Asian people are counted. The authors conclude that the failure to pass immigration reform "is likely to entrench a second generation against political actors perceived as holding up immigration reform progress."(Abstract courtesy of Dr. Nicholas V. Montalto)

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Pastor, M., Scoggins, J., Carter, V. & Sanchez, J. (2014). Citizenship Matters: How Children of Immigrants Will Sway the Future of Politics. Center for American Progress & Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. California: LA. Available at: