A new survey released on Wednesday revealed that approximately 10% of California’s state workers are illegal immigrants.
The California Immigrant Policy Center, in conjunction with USC, using statistics based on data from the census, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Homeland Security, found that 2.6 million illegal immigrants are working in California and provide $130 billion annually in gross domestic product.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the study also revealed:
- Illegal immigrants made up 38% of California’s Agriculture industry and 14% of the construction industry.
- Over 50% of the illegal immigrants in California have been here for ten years or more.
- About 58% of the illegal immigrants do not have health insurance.
- Almost 75% of the illegal aliens in California live in households that include U.S. citizens.
- About 25% (1.1 million) of the 4.4 million immigrants living in Los Angeles are here illegally.
Manuel Pastor, a USC professor who worked on the report, said that the study demonstrates how entrenched immigrants are into the California lifestyle. “It’s a population deeply embedded in the labor market, neighborhoods and social fabric of the state,” Pastor asserted.
Reshma Shamasunder, director of the California Immigrant Policy Center, said that the immigrants “help shape our state’s economic and civic vitality.” She believes that President Obama should move quickly to limit deportations and “honor these contributions and advance economic prosperity.”
In an earlier version of the Times report, Shamasunder called for an immigration overhaul bill that would bring a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and she called for Obama to take executive action to limit deportations.
Steven Camarot, of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates for a reduction in illegal immigration, explained that a bigger economy is not necessarily better and believes that upticks in the GDP are offset by the large government expenditures in providing schools and other services to illegal immigrants. “A bigger economy doesn’t mean the people are richer,” he said.