A new analysis of birth records finds the percentage of births in the U.S. to immigrants is at an all-time high, with 23 percent of births in 2002 by foreign-born mothers.

The analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies, or CIS, finds that level is higher than in 1910, during the peak of the last great wave of immigration.

“Nearly 10 percent of all births in the country were to illegal-alien mothers,” states a summary of the report. “This is important for at least two reasons: First, it is currently U.S. government policy to award American citizenship to all persons born on U.S. soil, even the children of tourists and illegal aliens. In addition, the number and share of children born to immigrants is now so large that it may overwhelm the assimilation process.”

The 23 percent figure for births by foreign-born women compares to just 15 percent in 1990, 9 percent in 1980 and 6 percent in 1970, the study reports.

While statistics on births to illegals are harder to pin down, CIS believes approximately 383,000, or 42 percent, of births to immigrants in 2002 were by illegal-alien mothers.

Notes the study: “The large number of births to illegals shows that the longer illegal immigration is allowed to persist the harder it is to solve, because these U.S. citizen children can stay permanently, their citizenship can prevent a parent’s deportation, and once adults, they can sponsor their parents for permanent residence.”

Though the percentage of births to immigrants has skyrocketed in recent years, the diversity level of those giving births has gone down. The analysis shows of the foreign-born births in 2002, 45 percent were by women from Mexico, compared to just 24 percent in 1970.

“Research shows that one of the biggest challenges immigrant-receiving countries face is the assimilation of the children of immigrants, who will have much higher expectations than their parents,” said Steven Camarota, director of research for CIS. “With immigrants accounting for such a large, and growing, share of births, America is headed into uncharted territory. We simply don’t know how these children will assimilate – but it is clear that the stakes for America are enormous.”

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