GOP debate fact check: Donald Trump says Mexico doesn't have birthright citizenship

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The conversation at the second Republican debate turned to birthright citizenship once again, and presidential candidate Donald Trump had a few more complaints about the U.S. policy of automatic citizenship granted at birth.

"Mexico and almost every other country anywhere in the world doesn't have that. We're the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it," he said.

This is simply not true.

First, the idea that the U.S. stands alone in granting citizenship to all people born on its soil is not true. Two separate organizations that research immigration issues have compiled data and charts that show jus soli - that is, citizenship derived from the place of your birth - is the practice in 30 countries. They are principally located in North, Central and South America:

cis-birthright-citizenship-map-6.jpg
Countries that grant automatic birthright citizenship
Center for Immigration Studies

Among those 30 countries, the U.S. and Canada are the only developed nations that grant birthright citizenship.

Trump also claimed that Mexico doesn't grant automatic citizenship. Although the terminology is slightly different, Article 30 of the Mexican Constitution states that Mexican nationality is conferred to, "the individuals born within the Republic's territory whatever their parents nationality might be" as well as individuals born abroad to Mexican parents.

Citizenship in Mexico is granted at age 18 to those who are Mexican nationals and "have an honest way of life." The benefits of citizenship include voting in popular elections and the ability to be elected to public office, similar to the rights that are given to a U.S. citizen when they turn 18.

"Mexico currently has a system that is nearly identical to that of the United States," Emilio Kourí, director of the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Chicago, told FactCheck.org in August. "What we call birthright citizenship, their constitution calls nationality."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.