Op-Ed: Are Californians fleeing en masse to Texas? The reality is complicated as people cross the border on their way from the South to the North. One reason: Few companies provide driver’s licenses to undocumented residents as proof of citizenship.
As a result, people have to apply for a free driver’s license at the state’s DMV. And once they’re on the road, they might not show their papers to police or get help navigating a stop in the event of an accident.
In a state of nearly 34 million people and a population of about 20 million, those numbers add up to a lot of traffic across the state’s two most populous regions.
There’s no real way to measure the influx. State officials don’t keep track of the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally. But people who have lived in the state for decades report that the new arrivals are increasingly driving away.
They’re going to Texas, another state with a population of a little more than 20 million people and a growing economy.
And people are going to other places in the nation’s most prosperous state: They’re not turning their backs on California.
Why would Californians want to leave the state and travel to Texas? The answer is complicated. But let’s take a look at the realities.
Immigration, education, and economics
Californians don’t live on an island. They’re one of the largest and fastest-growing populations in the U.S., which means they rely on immigrant labor and other goods, services, and industries from other states.
And while California’s immigrants number well over a million today, they’re not yet a majority population. If they were, California would have the largest immigrant population in the United States.
It isn’t clear how many California residents have moved to Texas. But some estimates say it might be closer to 25,000 people, including many people who are undocumented and have received work permits from the federal government that allows them to work temporarily in the United States in exchange for paying a few thousand dollars. State officials estimate over 1 million people live in the state of California, and almost 900,000 have citizenship, many of them from Mexico.
About 15 percent of California residents have bachelor’s degrees,