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Survey: Most new legal immigrants were illegal at some point
The Mercury News
March 17, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO—A new survey shows that more than half of new California immigrants who have green cards at some point lived in the state illegally. The study released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California goes against the conventional notion that most legal immigrants wait in their home country for their permanent residency papers before coming to the United States. Researchers say that's not the most common experience. They found 52 percent of new green card holders in California had lived in the country illegally before. When they looked at the country as a whole, researchers found a smaller but still significant percentage of permanent residents—42 percent—have lived in the country illegally. The numbers were based on a survey of 8,000 people with green cards as part of The New Immigrant Survey in 2003 and 2004.
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