That's about one-quarter of the nation's undocumented population, according to a USC study that's being released as Congress considers immigration reform amid all sorts of political cross-currents. The study generally affirms what's been reported in the past - that much of the undocumented population has been in the U.S. for many years and lead stable lives (17 percent of household heads are homeowners). Even so, they're often stuck in low-wage positions; farming is the most common occupation in L.A., with 37 percent undocumented, followed by construction (23 percent), and personal services (19 percent). L.A. has the highest share of self-employed undocumented immigrants. From the study:
California has had a long and convoluted relationship with its undocumented population (just think of Proposition 187), but the state now seems to be moving past punitive policies towards embracing its entire immigrant population. Santa Clara County has an Immigrant Relations and Integration Services office, Los Angles has a cross-sector Council on Immigrant Integration, and State Senator Ricardo Lara recently introduced a bill (SB23) to establish a State Office of New Americans - much like those in Chicago and New York. Getting immigration reform right in the nation and in the state will require better understanding undocumented Californians and developing a shared and widespread understanding that their integration will benefit the state.