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Phoenix area home to 250K undocumented immigrants, No. 10 in nation

An undocumented migrant from Mexico who did not give his name waits for work as a day laborer alongside a hardware store Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

PHOENIX — Phoenix is among the top metropolitan areas in the nation that undocumented immigrants call home, according to a Pew Research Center study.

Approximately 250,000 unauthorized immigrants live in the Phoenix area, accounting for 2.2 percent of all undocumented immigrants nationwide. The area was ranked No. 10 in the nation, according to estimates based off of the 2014 Census Bureau.

The unauthorized immigrant population is highly concentrated, Pew Research Center found. More than 6.8 million, or 61 percent, of the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants nationwide reside in 20 metropolitan areas, a quarter of which are in California.

The five metropolitan areas that house the most undocumented immigrants — New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and Miami — dwarfed Phoenix in comparison. The New York metro area housed more than 1.1 million undocumented immigrants, while Los Angeles came in second with about 1 million.

The metropolitan areas that housed the fewest number of undocumented immigrants included Orlando, Florida; and Austin, Texas; which each were home to around 100,000 immigrants.

The center’s analysis also found that 65 percent of the nation’s legal immigrants, including naturalized citizens and non-citizens, also live in those metropolitan areas.

Preventing illegal immigration and deporting those who are here illegally has been a major priority for the new administration under President Donald Trump.

Trump signed an executive order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border in January. The wall is set to be funded by taxpayers and could cost upwards of $20 billion, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security internal report.

But lawmakers have already taken steps to begin the removal of illegal immigrants.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested and later deported Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, a mother of two who has lived in Arizona since she was 14, on Thursday after a routine immigration check-in.

Trump also signed an executive order last month to halt travelers and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The order has been challenged in court several times, most recently Thursday, when federal appellate judges ruled that a block ban must remain.

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