Nearly one in eight Californians lives in a household with an undocumented immigrant family member, according to new research from the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. That’s almost 5 million people — more than in any other state.
The analysis, based on census data, suggests how broadly unauthorized immigrants are woven into families across California and the country.
Nationwide, almost 17 million people live in households with a family member who’s in the country illegally — and nearly half that number are U.S. citizens, including 6 million citizen children.
The USC research is included in a report that was released Thursday by the liberal Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.
The report says the new data show that President Trump’s plan to ramp up deportations not only affects undocumented immigrants themselves, “it also threatens the well-being of millions of citizens and their families, and erodes their trust in their community and the government.”
The report’s author, Silva Mathema, points to research that shows children suffer psychological trauma when a parent is arrested and their family is separated — and children’s housing and economic stability is often threatened.
Advocates for stronger immigration enforcement say that people who came into — or remained in — the country illegally are the ones responsible for any trauma experienced by their children if parents are deported. They add that the deportation of unauthorized adults does not have to break up a family — parents can take their children with them to their home country.