L.A., Orange Counties Are Home to 1 Million Immigrants Who Are in the Country Illegally: Analysis

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The chatter of Spanish serves as the backdrop of Pico-Union, where the aroma of pastries from the panaderia merge with the synthetic smells of an auto repair garage. A predominantly Latino neighborhood, it has for decades been a first stop for immigrants — both legal and illegal — coming from various corners of Latin America.

Over the years, this community has faced challenges, including from politicians threatening crackdowns on illegal immigration. But to many in this densely populated area near MacArthur Park, the presidency of Donald Trump poses a threat of an altogether different scale. Trump has vowed mass deportations of those here illegally, which if carried out, could fundamentally alter the rhythms of life in Pico-Union and numerous other immigrant enclaves around Southern California and beyond.

The potential threat of emptied homes and shuttered businesses has residents envisioning the worst.

Una desolación. Imagínate no más,” worried Graciela Sandoval, 79, who has lived in Pico-Union for five decades.  A desolation. Just imagine it.

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