California no longer top draw for undocumented immigrants

Report: State still has highest undocumented population, but arrivals now heading to Midwest, South

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, on June 13, 2013, at the old border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.

California’s 1990s-era recession is responsible for a contemporary demographic trend — the state is nolonger the top destination for undocumented immigrants, according to the co-author of a report released Monday.

California still has the nation’s highest number of unauthorized immigrants who sneaked across the border or remained in the U.S. after their visas expired, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The nonpartisan group’s analysis of Census Bureau data and U.S. immigration statistics showed that the nation’s undocumented immigrant population — an estimated 11.7 million last year — may be rising after falling during the recent recession, which lasted from December 2007-June 2009, and whose effects linger to this day.

In 2012, 2.45 million unauthorized residents lived in California, more than in any other state, according to the Pew report. That number has held steady since 2007, when the state’s undocumented population peaked at 2.8 million after growing every year since 1990, according to the report.

The study also showed that California was home to 21 percent of all unauthorized immigrants in 2012, compared to 42 percent in 1990. About 1.5 million undocumented immigrants lived in California in 1990.


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