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Border & Immigration

Report: San Diego Ranks 13th Highest For Immigrants Living In The Country Illegally

20 U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest number of unauthorized immigrants

A study released Thursday found the San Diego region is home to about 170,000 immigrants living in the United States illegally, ranking 13th nationally.

The report, released by the Pew Research Center, found that the largest populations live in New York, Los Angeles and Houston.

Of the estimated 11.1 million “unauthorized immigrants”, the study found that in 2014, 6.8 million lived in 20 major metropolitan areas, roughly 61% of the national total. By comparison, only 36% of the U.S. population lives in those same areas. The report concludes immigrants living in the country illegally are more likely to live in areas where other immigrants live. 65% of legal immigrants were found to live in those same top metro areas.

New York and Los Angeles exceeded all other metropolitan areas with populations of immigrants living in the country illegally. New York had a population of 1.2 million and Los Angeles had a population of 1 million. These are the only two metro areas to approach a million. Houston, which came in third, had a population of 570,000.

Five of the 20 metro areas with large populations of immigrants living in the country illegally are in California: Los Angeles Riverside-San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose.

Some of these regions could be affected if the Trump administration takes action against cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration authorities in identifying immigrants without legal status.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who has expanded the rights for immigrants living in the country illegally in California, has vowed to fight the Trump administration on immigration policies. The Los Angeles Police Chief announced in November that the department would not assist federal authorities with deporting immigrants.

On Thursday, Rep. Duncan Hunter announced he will not seek federal funds on behalf of state, cities, universities or other entities deemed “sanctuaries.”

The data collected for the Center’s report comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.


According to a new Pew report, the estimated U.S. unauthorized immigrant population is more concentrated in major metropolitan areas than the overall U.S. population. The top 20 U.S. metropolitan areas are home to an estimated 61 percent of unauthorized immigrants, compared with 36 percent of the overall U.S. population. The report estimates that, nationally, unauthorized immigrants make up 3.5 percent of the overall population and 26 percent of the foreign-born population.