Just One State – immigration lies

My grandmother recently forwarded an email that has been going around the internet. Snopes is my usual source of fact-checking but it, along with about a half dozen other debunking sites, didn’t do this particular chain justice, despite this chain having been around for ~15 years. This was the best of the bunch, which makes sense as the LA Times was, inaccurately, listed as the source of the statistics. So I checked every statement myself. Below is my letter to my grandmother:

So this email chain is full of incorrect statements. As my sisters know too well, whenever one of these comes to me I will fact-check it. I do not believe anything I’ve written below is partisan, I’m not saying we should be voting Red or Blue or Purple: these are simple numbers, mostly from the Census and other sources, and inarguable math. I have cited every source used. If there are inaccuracies, please send them back to me corrected and attributed. I believe in facts, in logic and in intelligence and the basis for exercising that intelligence is a correct foundation. Hence:

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

The 40% statistic appears to come from a 2007 (near the end of the Bush administration) report. By October 2015, the analysis of US Census ACS PUMS (American Community Survey 2009-2013 Public Use Microdata Sample) and LODES data along with LA specific IMPLAN data indicates informally employed workers has been reduced to approximately 20 percent of the workforce and that 65 percent of the city’s informal workers are unauthorized immigrants, resulting in approximately 13% of LA workers being illegal immigrants. Many of these are concentrated in low-wage jobs: A third of the low-wage workers within low-wage industries are estimated to be unauthorized immigrants, making this the vast majority of the jobs taken.

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

This number is hard to verify because Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office does not track it. This figure appears (unsourced) in Heather MacDonald’s 2005 testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims and refers specifically to outstanding homicide warrants. One University of California Davis study concludes that nearly half of the LAPD’s outstanding arrest warrants involved Mexican nationals who were presumed to have fled the country and that most are many years, even decades old because the United States does not have extradition treaties with most Latin American countries so the alleged murderers flee and the case can never be closed.

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

This list is online but the LAPD makes no claim to race, ethnicity or immigration status anywhere.

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.

In 2013, 46.1% of births were paid for by MediCal , but undocumented immigrants are actually ineligible for Medi-Cal. CA state, not using federal funds, pays for coverage under a PRUCOL eligibility status. Some sources indicate about half the births in Los Angeles County were to undocumented women, certainly 56.4% were to Hispanic women. Neither hospital nor state records include immigration status at time of birth, nor do they ask

Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals; they are here illegally.

The US DOJ says CA had 16,089 non-citizen inmates and 147,578 total inmates in 2011, so around 10%. This number includes all non-citizens, not only those of Mexican descent, and includes those held by held by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement in detention centers where illegal immigrants are detained before deportation. See also

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

The city of LA issued citations against the owners of 2,560 illegal units between 2010 and 2015. UCLA estimates that at least “20% of existing lots challenge the rigidity of the R1 code by converting garages or illegally erected shacks into residential spaces” in one Latino dominant neighborhood. Overall however, as seen on this year’s ballot, this isn’t a problem of illegal aliens but a problem of LA’s housing situation in general.

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

The FBI has never stated any such statistic and has specifically denied this one: 2011 National Gang assessment. This appears to originate from an op-ed by attorney Carol Platt Liebau — “Of the membership of the notorious 18th Street gang, estimated at 20,000, fully 60% are illegal aliens, according to a 1995 report by the state Department of Justice.” This particular gang, the 18th Street, is a transnational criminal gang from South America and is by definition heavily non-American. Saying this is akin to saying the KKK is full of racist white people: it is by definition true. The other large and prominent gangs in LA — including the Crips, Bloods and of course Aryan Nation — are heavily non-immigrant.

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

The Housing and Community Development department of LA estimates that as many as 5 percent of HUD housing units are occupied by illegal aliens. Similarly, FAIR says “We have found no studies that document the occupancy of public housing by illegal aliens and their U.S. citizen family members. We estimate that there will be as many as 3 million low-income families with one or more illegal alien parent and U.S.-born children — with the latter making the family eligible for public housing. That would amount to roughly three percent of all families in public housing.”

21 radio stations in LA are Spanish- speaking.

A little high according to http://www.ontheradio.net/metro/Los_Angeles_CA.aspx but I have to say, so what? We live in a free capitalist society, these radio station owners have clearly found a profitable enterprise.

In LA County, 5.1 million people speak English; 3.9 million, speak Spanish.
(There are 10.2 million people, in LA County.

The latest numbers as of 2010 based on the ACS are: 3,966,317 English speakers, 3,582,992 Spanish speakers. https://apps.mla.org/map_data_results?state_id=6&county_id=37&mode=geographic&zip=&place_id=&cty_id=&ll=all&a=&ea=&order=r

Less than 2% of illegal aliens are picking our crops but 29% are on welfare. See… http://www.cis.org/

According to the 2015 NAWS roughly 1.2 million to 1.75 million farmworkers are undocumented and roughly 750,000 to 1.3 million farmworkers are United States citizens or lawful immigrants. If this 2% number is true, then simple math results in 60,000,000 illegal immigrants in the US. Clearly it is much higher.

Over 70% of the United States ‘ annual population growth, (and over 90% of California , Florida , and New York ), results from immigration.

Setting aside the argument of why this is a good or bad thing, this one was easy: http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/totals/2015/index.html and https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2014/table1
Dec 1, 2014 the estimated US population was 320,086,785, while Jan 1, 2011 the population was 310,632,519. We’ve grown by 16,073,456. Legal immigration accounts for 4,100,742. Simple math says that this is 43%.

Illegal immigration is harder to estimate because number of immigrants that cross the border illegally each year are not directly countable. The DHS made 2,547,669 ‘removals or returns’ during this time period and the DHS estimates a rate of 33%. Again using simple math, 674,000 persons per year probably get into the US, bringing the total up to 50.1% of population grown accounted for my immigration, legal and illegal.

Also, 29% of inmates in federal prisons are illegal aliens.

In fact, this one has gone up: 36.7 percent of federal sentences in FY 2014 were of illegal immigrants. However, immigration cases themselves are the second most common federal case after drugs, accounting for 29.3% of the total federal caseload and 66% of non-citizen offenders committed an immigration offense. So this statistic is in fact saying that the US is effective at arresting illegal immigrants for being illegal immigrants. For violent or drug-related crimes, illegal immigrants account for less than 12% of federal inmates.