Undocumented Immigration In California

Capital Public Radio’s News Department is devoting a whole year to examining one of the most important and polarizing issues of our time. Our goal is to create a body of work that will enlighten and advance the conversation in California and beyond.

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Number Of Undocumented California Students Declining

Jasperdo / Flickr

Jasperdo / Flickr

California has the country’s largest population of undocumented immigrants. And that means thousands of undocumented children are enrolled in California schools.

The Migration Policy Institute estimates there are about 260,000 undocumented children between the ages of 3 and 17 enrolled in California schools. 

Randy Capps is the Institute’s Director of Research for U.S. Programs. He says the number is going down.

"The general trend has been an increase in the number of U.S. born children with unauthorized parents," he says. "But the number of children who are themselves unauthorized has been declining."

Capps says the latest data from the Pew Research Center suggests about 13 percent of school age kids in California have undocumented parents. He estimates about 1 in 5 of those kids are undocumented themselves.

The overall undocumented immigrant population has declined, and is going down faster in California than in other parts of the country.

The majority of California’s undocumented immigrants come from Mexico. Capps says that country’s improving economy and schools and its aging population have contributed to the drop in undocumented immigration to the US.

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