Welcome to the California Immigrant Data Portal, a resource and progress tracker for immigrants and those serving immigrant communities across the state of California. This portal presents data and case studies that can be used to better understand and promote the well-being of immigrants, their families, and their communities.
The data portal is a project of the University of Southern California's Equity Research Institute (ERI), formerly known as the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII). For more information about our institute, click here. For more analysis on current issues facing immigrants, visit our blog here. Stay up to date on upcoming California Immigrant Data Portal updates and webinars by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Our perspective on immigrant inclusion is anchored by three guiding principles:
For more on our guiding principles, click here.
A special note:
While this website provides data on immigrant, migrant, and refugee communities, we recognize that California is home to Native Nations on whose land we are living. We want to challenge the uplifting but inaccurate narrative that the state was “built by immigrants.” Instead, we want to acknowledge that the land we reside on was taken by a settler-colonial society that exploited native, immigrant, migrant, and enslaved people – stealing labor, knowledge, and skills – to build what we now call California. Today, California is home to the largest population of Native Americans in the United States. Currently there are over 150 tribes throughout the state. Immigrant communities, like U.S.-born Californians, must grapple with what it means to live on stolen land, understand our role and responsibilities as guests on Native American homelands, and be committed to supporting the struggle for Native Nations’ sovereignty and self-determination.
For more information on California’s Native Nations, click here.
October 2022: In the past few years, California, like the rest of the nation, has faced a series of ongoing challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events and disasters such as flooding and large-scale fires, and uprisings in the wake of state-sanctioned violence toward Black, Brown, and unhoused communities. The issues facing our state are challenging, but as we look forward, we remain hopeful. We have seen many in our communities rise up as leaders, pushing back against white supremacy and nativism; tackling inequality and climate change; and connecting us all in the fight for real social change.
The USC Equity Research Institute remains a resource to those working tirelessly to advocate and implement community-grounded solutions to the problems that lie before us to create a California that works for all. The California Immigrant Data portal is one of our contributions to the movement for social change. Home to the largest population of immigrants in the United States, many of whom are people of color, California occupies a unique position – home to long-standing communities of immigrants, and though at a slower rate than in the past, a place of migration for new immigrants. The indicators and narrative displayed illustrate some of the ways in which California’s immigrants are more vulnerable to the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; the ways in which they are more vulnerable to both disasters and existing oppressive systems; and the potential of immigrant communities to advocate for change in their local communities.
Our team has also been working on improvements to the Data Portal including updating data, integrating new site features, and adding two new data indicators: digital divide and languages spoken. These two new indicators address our need for connection – to essential services, civic life, and to each other – in times of crises. In addition, we are preserving our page highlighting COVID-19 data on essential workers and resources that provide insight on how California’s immigrants were, and still are, impacted by this global crisis.
While not comprehensive in scope, this site is meant to provide general data and narrative on immigrant populations, who are often people of color. Highlighting some of the demographic and economic realities facing our communities now, the data also points to the state’s future and the work needed to shape immigrant inclusion for the next decade and beyond.
Thank you for visiting this site. We hope that this data portal is a helpful tool in your work and beyond.
Title 42, a little-known section of U.S. health law, has been used to violently expel Haitian immigrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border, continuing the history of racism and exclusion in immigration policy that targets Black immigrants.
Since March of 2020, Title 42 has been used to deny refugees and asylum seekers entry to the U.S. under the pretense of public health concerns amidst COVID-19. Although public health experts have continued to insist that public health protocols can be enacted to safely process the entry of refugees and asylum seekers, Title 42 continued to be enforced under the Biden administration with some modifications. This has contributed to the deportations of thousands of Central American, Haitian, and Mexican immigrants who are denied the right to apply for asylum. An analysis by the Associated Press on apprehensions of Haitian migrants at the U.S. border, including Title 42 expulsions, reveals a significant increase in the number of apprehensions between Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 (166) and FY 2020 (4,531). The same analysis showed that between October 2018 and June 2021, among asylum decision data for 84 nationalities, asylum seekers from Haiti had the lowest rate of accepted asylum requests (under 5%). On April 1, 2022 the Biden administration issued a termination to Title 42, yet the decision has been challenged in court. As of May 20th, termination of the rule has been blocked by a Louisiana federal judge.
In 2021, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, The Quixote Center, and The UndocuBlack Network published, The Invisible Wall, a report detailing the history of Title 42 and the life-threatening impacts on Haitian immigrants. The report highlights the story of Roseline, a Haitian mother and wife who left Haiti in 2016 after being assaulted due to her political affiliations. During this dangerous journey, she gave birth to her son in Mexico and in February 2021 arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border. Even after this treacherous journey, a few days later, she was expelled under Title 42. While in the U.S., she was detained for 11 days where she was denied the option to speak with an immigration officer, access to counsel, translated documents and information, and access to basic necessities such as a shower or clothes for her baby. Living in Haiti, Roseline and her family are in hiding, unable to leave the house as they fear for their lives. Still, they hope to seek asylum in the U.S. once again after the Title 42 policy is terminated.
In direct response to this continued violence and discrimination against Black immigrants, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) along with other groups organized a national week of action in early 2022 to continue to demand protections for Black immigrants seeking asylum, which included rescinding Title 42. While Title 42 is only an example of the most recent policy targeting Black immigrants, it is important to note the history of these exclusionary immigration policies. As explained in an article by The Washington Post: in 1970 the U.S. initiated a process by which Haitian asylum seekers were targeted for deportation; the U.S. has denied Haitians the opportunity to enter the U.S. to escape oppressive regimes; and attempted to end Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haiti. To read the Haitian Bridge Alliance, The Quixote Center, and The UndocuBlack Network’s full report, click here. Read El Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (“Institute for Women in Migration”) and BAJI’s report on the anti-Black racism faced by African migrants traveling through Mexico and to the U.S. here. To learn more about the criminalization that Black immigrants experience once in the U.S., read BAJI’s report here and a joint report with the USC Equity Research Institute's on the State of Black Immigrants in California, here.
Photo credit: Defend Black Immigrants, The All-Nite Images, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)