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Austin Among U.S. Cities With Most Undocumented Immigrants, Pew Finds

Austin is among 20 U.S. cities with the largest share of undocumented immigrants, according to a new analysis of government data from the Pew Research Center.

The Austin-Round Rock metro area comes in with the 20th highest population of unauthorized immigrants. Houston and Dallas rank third and fourth, respectively.

Credit Pew Research Center

The analysis found Austin had 100,000 unauthorized immigrants living here in 2014. 

“Unauthorized immigrants tend to go where they have jobs and where they have family. Those are the two main factors that determine where immigrants end up settling, from what we know,” said Jeff Passel, a senior demographer with the Pew Research Center, who conducted the analysis.

Many of the cities on Pew’s list, like Austin, are considered “sanctuary cities,” because they don’t comply with all federal immigration requests. Last month, President Trump issued an executive order targeting these jurisdictions, promising to strip them of federal funds. Austin currently receives about $43 million in federal grants.

The Texas Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would also penalize “sanctuary” jurisdictions, like Travis County. The governor already cut funding to the county after Sheriff Sally Hernandez said her department would no longer accommodate warrantless requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to detain undocumented immigrants.

Hernandez says her policy is necessary for public safety and that complying with detainer requests would inhibit immigrants in the community from reporting crimes. 

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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