How Are Immigrants Faring After Welfare Reform?. Legal Status and Composition of Immigrant Families


  • United States citizens make up more than half of the members of the immigrant families included in the survey, which was conducted in late 1999 and early 2000. About one-third are native citizens, and most of them are the U.S.-born children of immigrants. Additionally, roughly a quarter of family members are naturalized citizens. (In this report, we use the term "immigrant" broadly to include all foreign-born people, including legal permanent residents, refugees, naturalized citizens, undocumented aliens and other foreign born persons. Because these groups have differing legal statuses, benefit eligibility, and socioeconomic characteristics, this report also provides more detailed estimates by immigrant category.)
  • About one-sixth of the members of immigrant families in Los Angeles County and one in 12 in New York City appear to be undocumented aliens.
  • As of early 2000, there were about 123,000 legal permanent residents (LPRs) and refugees who entered the United States since August 1996 in Los Angeles County and about 210,000 in New York City.
  • The Los Angeles sample includes adults born in 75 countries, and the New York sample includes adults from 109 countries.

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