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 integration 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.
We launched this website in October 2020, before the fall COVID-19 surge began, when over 817,000 cases had been diagnosed and nearly 16,000 people had lost their lives to the disease statewide. By mid-February, 2021, there were more than 3.4 million cases and nearly 48,000 Californians had died from COVID-19. Though vaccine distribution has begun, its distribution has been uneven and unequal, further confirming that the pandemic continues to devastate communities throughout the country, with its most dire consequences in communities of color.
This virus in some ways has reaffirmed what we already knew, that communities of color persistently face stark social and economic inequities. As we were preparing to launch this site, we saw our communities rise up together, risking their lives in the process, to rally against anti-Black racism and fight for systemic change, only to once again face backlash by these systems that violently retaliate to retain power and control. Our state was also battling some of the largest wildfires in California history, threatening hundreds of thousands of residents and putting essential workers, including emergency response teams and our large community of farmworkers at risk. As we headed into the 2020 presidential election, we witnessed historic voter turnout that illustrated the strength of grassroots, people of color-led organizing against white supremacy and fascism. We had not yet seen the violent white supremacist insurrection that would come in early 2021, reminding us that the work of rooting out the structural racism inherent in our nation’s history is far from over.
Read more here.
While not comprehensive in scope, this site is meant to provide general data on immigrant populations, who are often people of color. The indicators displayed illustrate some of the ways in which California’s immigrants are more vulnerable to the devastating health and economic impacts of the disease, how they may also be more vulnerable to both disasters and existing oppressive systems, and the potential of immigrant communities to advocate for change in their local communities.
The lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services for Black immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers impedes their ability to navigate a complex immigration system, particularly at the border.
In 2017, The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA), Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), and The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) organized a Black-led, Black migrant focused delegation to the U.S.-Mexico border to better understand the challenges faced by Black immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the border.
Following this visit, BAJI published Black Lives at the Border, a report uplifting stories and outlining recommendations for improving the conditions of recently arrived Black immigrants and refugees. For example, the report presents the case of Anabelle, a Haitian migrant and mother of six, who migrated to the U.S. due to economic hardship caused by the earthquakes in Haiti. Before arriving in San Diego at the U.S. border, Anabelle traveled from Haiti to the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico.
Anabelle did not have access to immigration translation services in Haitian Creole, an experience faced by many other immigrants of African descent. As a result, Anabelle could not attend her assigned court appearance and, in her absence, was given a deportation order. The report found that there needs to be massive increase in civil society support and most importantly community based solidarity with Black immigrant and refugee people who are building their support systems in extremely difficult situations. There is a severe need for housing, medical care and culturally competent attorneys and interpreters. Efforts to address these challenges and the scale of the problem need to be led by the Black immigrants organized at the border. Due to these increasing needs, the few Black-led immigrant rights organizations in California that provide services, advocacy, and transition support to recently arrived Black immigrants living in border states are also in urgent need of increased capacity and resources.