1 in 3 Adults in Parts of L.A. Are in U.S. Illegally, Study Finds

Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times, May 8, 2013

In some parts of Koreatown and South Los Angeles, one in three adult residents is in the country illegally, according to a study released Tuesday by researchers at USC.

Countywide, about one in 10 adults is an immigrant who crossed the border illegally or overstayed a visa, the study found. Many of those immigrants have put down roots here: Half have been in the country for more than a decade, and 12% are homeowners.

Many are also the parents of American citizens. In Los Angeles County, one in five children has a parent living in the country illegally, according to the study.

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As the debate over immigration reform gets underway in Washington, the stakes for California are particularly high.

One in four of the estimated 11 million people thought to be in the United States without legal authorization lives in California. Statewide, the USC study estimates that about 7% of residents, or more than 2.6 million people, are in the country illegally.

In Los Angeles County, 63% of immigrants here illegally are from Mexico and 22% from Central America, according to the study. Eight percent are from the Philippines, Korea or China.

In the Bay Area, the percentage of Asians in the unauthorized population is much higher, 23%. In the Sacramento area, 8% of immigrants in the country illegally are from Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

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Nearly half of the county’s immigrants here illegally lack a high school diploma, and 60% do not speak English well, according to the study.

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