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More Than A Third Of L.A. County Residents Fear That They Or Someone They Know Will Be Deported

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Thirty-seven percent of Los Angeles County residents fear that they, a family member or a friend will be deported from the United States, according to a new study from UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs. There are approximately 800,000 undocumented residents living in the county, and a million living in the combined Los Angeles/Orange County area.

Fear, which has been on the rise in L.A.'s immigrant communities since President Trump was elected in November, has amplified in recent months as the federal government expanded deportation priorities.

"People are afraid even to go to the store," Pastor Carlos Rincon of Centro de Vida Victoriosa Church, a Latino Pentecostal congregation in East Los Angeles, told LAist last month. "They take their kids to school but they don't come out because they are afraid."

More than half of the 37% percent of county residents who feared that they or someone they knew would be deported rated themselves as "very worried," according to the 2017 UCLA Luskin Los Angeles County Quality of Life Index, an annual project produced by the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs in partnership with the California Endowment. The survey is based on interviews conducted with about 1,600 county residents between February 28 and March 12, 2017.According to the survey results, younger and lower-income residents were more likely to be worried about deportation. Of respondents who expressed fears about deportation, "an overwhelming 80 percent said that they, a friend or a family member would be at greater risk of being deported by enrolling in a government health, education or housing program," according to the report.

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“The national debate on immigration in recent months has heavily impacted Los Angeles. The extraordinary number of people who now fear engaging local government for services should be of concern to all of us,” former County Supervisor and director of the Los Angeles Initiative Zev Yaroslavsky said in a statement.

In late March, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed an executive directive expanding protections for undocumented Angelenos and barring police and city employees from enforcing federal immigration laws.