In the Era of Trump, L.A. Is a Top U.S. Magnet for Immigrants

A mural in central Los Angeles
A mural in central Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a city of immigrants: Nearly 40 percent of us were born outside the United States. In the county, 1 in 10 people are undocumented. It would make sense then, that President-elect Donald Trump's promised crackdown on those here illegally puts cities like ours in the cross-hairs.

A new analysis from apartment rental site Abodo does little to allay that fear. Its 8 U.S. Cities Most Attractive to Immigrants report says Greater L.A. (including Orange County) is second only to New York when it comes to the number of foreign newcomers in recent years. The L.A. region, with a foreign-born population of 4.5 million, has seen 307,939 people move here from other countries since 2013, according to the site.

Greater New York, which includes northern New Jersey, has about the same total immigration population — about 4.5 million. But it saw a greater number of foreign arrivals, 499,359, since 2013, the analysis found.

Trump kicked off his run for the White House in June 2015 by demonizing Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, focusing his proposed immigration policy, including a vow to deport 3 million undocumented people with criminal records, on our southern border. One of his campaign ads falsely depicted a flood of people crossing the "southern border." Abodo found, however, that a majority (58.1 percent) of foreigners coming to L.A. since 2010 are from Asia. "This Southern California town is also the No. 1 destination for immigrants from the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea and Japan," Abodo spokesman Sam Radbil said via email.

Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala make up the group of countries with the second-highest number of immigrants to Greater L.A. since 2010, the site found. China and Hong Kong together were the metro area's third-largest source of newcomers since 2010, according to the report.

This latest wave of newcomers provides L.A. with a younger population eager to work. The Center for Migration Policy found that U.S. immigrants compose 13.5 percent of the country’s population but 16.9 percent of the workforce. In L.A., the median age of the newest immigrants is 29.8, Abodo found. The unemployment rate among immigrants in the region is 10 percent, the site discovered. "Overall, it's a dynamic city with a lot to offer to new immigrants, including a solid job market, great weather and opportunities that are only available in Los Angeles," Radbil said.

The site looked at American Community Survey data and other U.S. Census Bureau figures on immigration to U.S. cities with 1 million or more people reaching back to 2010 and 2013. Greater Miami, with 256,647 foreign newcomers since 2013, came in third on the list of American cities with the greatest number of immigrants in recent years.

In the Era of Trump, L.A. Is a Top U.S. Magnet for Immigrants
Abodo

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