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Illegal Immigrants in California and Los Angeles County

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an estimated 2,830,000 illegal immigrants
resided in California in 2011, compared to 1.5 million in 1990 and 2.5 million in 2000. This number represents
about 24 percent of the entire estimated illegal immigrant population in the United States (11.5 million in 2011).
This estimate puts the percentage of California's population that are illegal immigrants to be about 7.5 percent,
with a majority (about 60 percent) being from Mexico. Across the entire United States, an estimated 6.8 million
illegal immigrants were from Mexico, up from 4.7 million in 2000.

Los Angeles County

DHS does not offer estimates for the illegal immigrant population specifically in Los Angeles County, but the
Los Angeles Almanac studied comparative statistics of English language learners in California school districts
that might assist in estimating the illegal immigrant population in individual counties and cities. The Almanac
estimates that Los Angeles County was home to 762,000 illegal immigrants in 2010.  Even if using the 7.5
percent of California's population as illegal immigrants as a broadly applied percentage across California,
the estimate of the illegal immigrant population in Los Angeles County exceeds 700,000. The Almanac further
estimates that about 382,000 illegal immigrants living within the area encompassed by the Los Angeles Unified
School District (that includes East Los Angeles and South Gate); 36,000 live in the area encompassed by the
Long Beach School District; 24,000 live in the area encompassed by the Compton School District; 21,000
live in the area encompassed by the Pomona School District; 19,000 live in the area encompassed by the
Montebello School District; 12,000 live in the area encompassed by the Lynwood School District. The
remaining 35 percent of illegal immigrants in Los Angeles County, or an estimated 268,000, live elsewhere in
the county.

 

 

Immigration has long been a hot issue in California, even as far back as the latter days of California's
Mexican period (1822 to 1846). Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California, lamented, "We find
ourselves suddenly threatened by hordes of Yankee immigrants...whose progress we cannot arrest."

 

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