An Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent walks down the aisle among shackled Mexican immigrants a boarded a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement charter jet for deportation in the air between Chicago, Il. and Harlingen, Texas, Tuesday, May 25, 2010. (AP Photo/LM Otero) Use Information:
A new study said nearly a quarter of the nation's illegal immigrants live in California.
A Pew Hispanic Center report released Wednesday also said illegal immigrants comprise 6.9 percent of California's population -- the highest percentage in the country.
Overall, the number of illegal immigrants in the United States has dropped for the first time in 20 years, with California housing 23 percent of the country's 11.1 million immigrants.
The study also says 9.3 percent of California's workforce is illegal labor - second highest in the nation.
The study, based on 2009 statistics, did not include California comparisons to earlier years.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken advocate of welcoming more immigrants to the U.S., said he was not surprised by the study's findings.
"It exemplifies what I've been saying all along," Bloomberg told reporters. "Not totally, but generally, people come here from around the world -- whether they come here legally or illegally -- to work, to build a better life for themselves and for their families. And when our economy is down, it's just tougher to get a job."
Other Pew findings: