Illegal immigration

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In the Shadows of the Golden State: Who are California’s Undocumented Immigrants? [Illustrated Explainer]

Illegal! Unauthorized! Undocumented!

A lot of loaded terms are used to refer to the diverse group of more than 11 million immigrants who live in the United States without legal status.

Almost a quarter of this population lives in California. But who exactly are they? Where do they come from? And what impact do they have on the Golden State’s massive economy?

Comic illustrator Andy Warner explains. Read the full comic or view as a slideshow below.

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Interactive: Counting the Undocumented in California (and the rest of the country)

Includes: interactive maps

(Click on each state for population estimates of the undocumented immigrant community; source: Pew Hispanic Center)

Although the vast majority of immigrants in California came here legally, the state still has by far the largest undocumented immigrant population in the country, many of whom are young. In fact, it’s estimated that as many as 350,000 young undocumented immigrants living in California are eligible for deferred deportation and work authorization, as a result of the Obama administration’s recent policy shift, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Continue reading