Illegal Immigration Facts
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List of Facts and Figures about Illegal Immigration-Mostly Fiction!

Summary of the eRumor:  
The eRumor claims to have a list of alarming facts about Illegal immigration.
 
The Truth:  
Illegal immigration is a significant issue for Americans and deserves attention, but whoever authored this eRumor did not help his or her cause.  Most of the figures are either difficult to prove or don't match known facts.  Some seem to be fabricated. A couple actually proved their point even better than the statistics quoted.

Some versions say the figures are from the Los Angeles Times (which is not true).  Others say they are statistics from the FBI (which is not true either).

One of the challenges with this topic is that illegal immigrants are somewhat invisible to statistics.  They are living underground and the best figures about illegal immigrants are mostly based on deductions from those who are either in professional positions working with immigrant issues or doing research on immigration.  None of the estimates should be considered the last word on illegal immigration and the figures we found sometimes varied widely.

Here is our research on each of the points of the email:

1. 40% of all workers in L.A. County (L.A. County has 10.2 million people) Fiction!
Economic Roundtable in Los Angeles issued a report in 2005 on what it called "L.A's Off-The-Books labor force."  Its research was about the city of Los Angeles, not the entire county, and concluded that there were 3,908,000 wage earners in the city and about 972,000 "informal workers," meaning they were getting paid under the table.  It does not break down how many of them might have been illegal aliens, but the percentage was no where near 40 percent.  Los Angeles Almanac estimated number of "unreported jobs" in 2005 in Los Angeles County at 643,000 with a number of workers at 4,090.630.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens-Mostly Truth!
The most commonly quoted source for this is a report by Heather McDonald and published by the Center for Immigration Studies.  She repeated her research on April 13, 2005 in testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on "Immigration, Border Security, and Claims" saying that 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide in Los Angeles targeted illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens-Unproven!
We could not find anything to substantiate this.  If you browse through the Most Wanted list for the Los Angeles Police Department there are a lot of foreign-born listed, but not how many of them may be illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien
Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers-Inaccurate!
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, about half the births in Los Angeles County in 2004 were to undocumented women.  In 1989 California required by law that the state  Medi-Cal program be available to pregnant women living in poverty.

5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally-Fiction!
National statistics would tend to suggest that this claim is not true.  A 2007 report by the Immigration Policy Center said that among men 18-39, which represents the majority of prison inmates, the incarceration rate of foreign born was 0.7 percent while the incarceration rate of native born was 3.5 percent.   Foreign born Mexicans had an incarceration rate of 0.7 percent in 2000 compared with 5.9 percent for native born men of Mexican descent.  The report did not say how many of the foreign born were illegal.  A 1993 report to the California Joint Committee on Prison Construction and Operations estimated that more than 15 percent of the 116,000 state prison inmates were illegal aliens.  In her congressional testimony (referenced above), Heather McDonald said that the L.A. County Sheriff reported in 2000 that 23% of inmates in county jails were deportable, according to the New York Times.  That's all inmates, however, not just Mexicans.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages-Unproven!
It is known that large numbers of illegal immigrants are crammed into houses and apartments that are too small for the number of people living in them and that others are living in garages, but we could not find anyone who kept statistics on garage-dwellers or how anybody would know their numbers.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles
are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border-Unproven!
It is known that gangs do include illegal aliens but coming up with a reliable statistic would be difficult.  Again, the gangs operate underground.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal-Unproven!

9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking-Mostly Truth!
As the Spanish-speaking population of Los Angeles has grown so has the presence of Spanish-speaking media.  We counted about 18 stations in Los Angeles that are either Spanish or are multi-cultural and include Spanish in their music or programming.  At this writing, four of the top ten stations in Los Angeles are Spanish and the number-one station is usually Spanish.

10. In L.A. County 5.1 million people speak English.   3.9 million speak Spanish. (There are 10.2 million people in L.A. County )-Inaccurate But the Real Figures Support the Point!
The U.S.Census Bureau reported that as of 2004, 3.9 million people in L.A.County spoke only English at home; 3.7 million spoke primarily Spanish at home.

11. Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare-Fiction!
The U.S. department of Labor said that the number of farm workers who were undocumented in 1998-1998 was 52% .   
Regarding welfare,
most illegal immigrants are not eligible for welfare except for elementary and high school education and emergency medical care.  Children born in the U.S. are citizens and qualify for certain public assistance. But what is generally thought of as welfare is available only to citizens or legal immigrants.

12. Over 70% of the United States annual population growth (and over 90% of California , Florida , and New York) is illegal aliens-Fiction!
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates that the number of illegal aliens increased in 2000 by 408,000 while the general population increased by 32,712,033.

Last updated 6/3/07

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

  From the L.A. Times

1. 40% of all workers in L.A. County ( L.A. County has 10.2 million people) are working for cash and not paying taxes. This was because they are predominantly illegal immigrants, working without a green card.

2. 95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.

3. 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens.

4. Over 2/3 of all births in Los Angeles County are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal, whose births were paid for by taxpayers.

5. Nearly 25% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.

6. Over 300,000 illegal aliens in Los Angeles County are living in garages.

7. The FBI reports half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.

8. Nearly 60% of all occupants of HUD properties are illegal.

9. 21 radio stations in L.A. are Spanish speaking.

10. In L.A. County 5.1 million people speak English.   3.9 million speak Spanish. (There are 10.2 million people in L.A. County ).

11. Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops, but 29% are on welfare.

12. Over 70% of the United States ' annual population growth (and over 90% of California , Florida , and New York ) is illegal aliens.

 

 

 


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