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September 3, 2014 - California is home to over ten million immigrants, each one of whom adds to the state's economic, civic, and cultural vitality in ways both measurable and intangible. From our greatest metropolises to our smallest rural communities - and spanning a range of critical industries - immigrant Californians are helping to shape the Golden State's future. High rates of entrepreneurship and self-employment underscore the creativity and resourcefulness of our state's immigrant workers.
Yet too many immigrant workers lack basic civil rights protections and live with the daily threat of family separation and deportation. Due to the Federal Government’s inability to create a rational immigration system, some 2.6 million Californians lack legal status. And even non-citizen immigrants with status are not entirely safe from the risk of deportation.
In recent years, California's government has taken historic strides to enact policies that limit deportations and advance the inclusion of immigrant residents, with other critical measures on the horizon. This progress stands in stark contrast to Congress' inability to pass inclusive legislation and the two million deportations over which President Obama has presided. Now, after sustained pressure from community groups, the President has indicated he will take action on his own to ease deportations.
It is in this context that we release our third biannual Immigrant Contributions Report, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration at the University of Southern California. For the first time, we have highlighted specific data relative to the considerable contributions of undocumented immigrants to California's economy.
CIPC believes that expanding "deferred action" to all of California's 2.6 million undocumented residents is a common-sense step well within the Executive Branch’s authority. For a population that contributes $130 billion to the state's GDP, yet has suffered some 117,000 deportations in recent years (from one deportation program alone), such action would be the least the Administration could do to recognize immigrant workers’ contributions and strengthen the stability of communities across the state.
LOOKING FORWARD: IMMIGRANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GOLDEN STATE 2010 (STATEWIDE)