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.

Across U.S., 17 Million Live With an Undocumented Family Member 17 March,2017Tyche Hendricks

Author

Tyche Hendricks

Tyche Hendricks is editor for The California Report, KQED’s daily, statewide radio news program. She leads KQED's immigration coverage, and recently reported on the plight of migrant teens locked in indefinite detention -- a collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting. She also coordinates KQED's election coverage.

Before joining KQED in 2010, Tyche worked as a newspaper reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Hearst-owned San Francisco Examiner, the San Jose Mercury-News and the Seattle Times. Her work has been recognized with awards from the Radio and Television News Directors Association, including a 2012 Edward R. Murrow award for KQED's election coverage;  the Society for Professional Journalists; the Education Writers Association; the Best of the West and the National Federation of Community Broadcasters.

Tyche has taught at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and, from 2010 to 2015, directed a national immigration symposium for professional journalists there

She is the author of The Wind Doesn't Need a Passport: Stories from the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (U.C. Press, 2010). Tyche holds a BA from Wesleyan University, and master's degrees in Latin American Studies and  Journalism from U.C. Berkeley. She speaks fluent Spanish and passable French. thendricks@kqed.org

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