Monday, May 31, 2010

Detained Immigrants Slated For Deportation Being Counted For Census Money

HP Reports: TACOMA, Wash. — Paulo Sergio Alfaro-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant being held at a detention center in Washington state, had no idea that the federal government would count him in the census. No one gave him a census form. No one told him his information would be culled from the center's records.

But counted he was, along with other illegal immigrants facing deportation in detention centers across the country – about 30,000 people on any given day, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement. By the time the census delivers the total tallies to the state and federal government, most of the immigrants will be long gone. But because the population snapshot determines the allocation of federal dollars, those in custody could help bring money to the towns, cities and counties in Texas, Arizona, Washington and Georgia where the country's biggest and newest facilities are located.

"I think the irony, if there's any irony, is that the locality is what's going to benefit, because you have a detention center in a particular city where people have been brought from different parts of the region, and that community will benefit," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, an organization that has pushed Latinos to participate in the census. This census brings a twist, though. For the first time, states have the option of counting people in detention centers and prisons as residents of their last address before they're detained, worrying some local lawmakers who say cities and counties that host detention centers could lose money. "Detention centers and prisons should probably count where they are located, that's where resources would be required," Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, D-Georgia wrote in a May letter to the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the census. Bishop represents Stewart County, Georgia, population 4,600, where the nation's largest detention center housed a total of 14,000 people between April 2007 and March 2008.

ICE operates 22 immigrant detention centers and also houses people in hundreds of other jails or prisons. Most of the largest centers are in small towns in Texas, Arizona and Georgia. Texas is home to six detention centers, and Arizona has three. The payout can be hefty for small towns. Federal money being distributed from the census averaged about $1,469 per person in fiscal year 2008, according to the Brookings Institute, and other grants are also available to small towns depending on their population. In Raymondville, Texas, a town of nearly 10,000 people, the Willacy Detention Center holds an average daily population of about 1,000. The center opened in 2006 and was a boon the community as ICE and the private company that runs the center rushed to hire personnel.

Now, the detention center's population may push Raymondville over the town's goal of surpassing 10,000, a number that will allow them to qualify for more federal help, Mayor Orlando Correa said.
"As long it's humane, as long as the facility respects the rights of these people and they're not treated like animals, I'm OK with it," Correa said. For safety reasons, most detainees are counted through administrative records, rather than forms being passed out, U.S Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner said. The census will cull data from records kept on April 1. Alfaro-Sanchez, for his part, is glad he's being counted. He entered the country when he was about 15 through Tijuana, and worked as a handyman in Goldendale, a small town in eastern Washington.

He arrived in at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma on March 30 after being arrested in a fight. The charges were dropped, he said, but immigration officers had already flagged him for arrest. "I think that even though we may be sent back, there's a lot of people who may need that money, the Hispanic people that are here," the 32-year-old said in Spanish.


Dee said...

HP Commenter wrote:

In the last census, the Southwest and the Southeast picked up Congressional seats because of immigration. North Carolina picked up one with the 600,000 Latinos who moved to the state and had the highest Latino population increase in the country. NC will pick up another seat this time around too. Georgia, fast behind NC in Latino immigrant population growth also picked up a seat and will get another one.

Everyone benefits from this migration and profits from the migrants: Corporations that process our food profit from cheap labor, American consumers profit from lower food and home prices, sheriff's profit by running on anti-immigrant platforms playing to the redneck voters out there, the federal govt profits from uncollected social security benefits, white supremacists profit by re-energizing their hate movement, the disaffected get a scapegoat, private companies profit by managing detention centers, politicians profit by corporate campaign contributions not to do anything about the system. About everyone profits but the migrants themselves who work like crazy and have to live in fear because we can't admit we need the cheap labor. The ones who suffer the most are the kids who grow up here do well in school and then cant go to college. American the beautiful, indeed.

Dee said...

Another HP commenter said:

These centers are funded by the federal government not by the local municipality. They are large employers and already a net benefit to the communities. There is NO relationship between the cost of the inmates and the benefits derived from the census count. What counting these detainees does do is create a false number of people who reside in those counties. This impacts representation at both the state and federal level. This isnt just about money its about seats in congress. Do these detainees vote? No of course not but they are counted as residents... we should bring back civics classes. When I see how little Americans understand how their government works its no wonder this country is struggling.

ultima said...

No illegals should have been counted in the census. Whoever wrote the rules should have limited the count to citizens.

ultima said...

HP wrote, "the federal govt profits from uncollected social security benefits..." How long do you think that situation will last? There have already been some efforts to qualify illegals for ss benefits. Then the trust fund will really go broke!

ultima said...

"Everyone benefits from this migration and profits from the migrants:"

Not so fast there. You forgot to subtract the costs of education, Medicaid, EIC, footstamps,immigration services, social services, law enforcement. You can't just look at one side of the ledger. If what you say is true, we should throw open the flood gates and start flying 'em in from all over the world and stop worrying about those silly immigration laws.

We will just all be in tall clover from all of those benefits and profits. We'd have to train the migrants to do the accounting and count all the profits.

ultima said...

How about the negative effects on our quality of life and standard of living that will be the inevitable result in the long term.

Shortsightedness is an epidemic in America and especially in the Congress and the Administration and on this blog.

ultima said...

"American the beautiful, indeed!"

There is always the other alternative: Mexico and points south. Mexico the beautiful, indeed!

ultima said...

"Americans understand how their government works"

They understand all too well but don't seem to have the backbone to do anything about it. If we turned the House of Representatives over every two years and the senate every six, maybe we could begin to see some semblance of representative government. We should all vote against the encumbent in every election until the pols begin to get the message that we are damn mad and we aren't going to take it anymore. That's the message of the TEA party.

ultima said...

"white supremacists profit by re-energizing their hate movement"

You grossly overestimate the impact of these idiots. An idiot is the right word because they somehow have overlooked the fact of multi-racial America and the browning of America that they are powerless to do anything about.

ultima said...

"we need the cheap labor" so some folks think but is that the way to build a just and fair America? Or were we better off when any kind of labor was considered commendable as opposed to the present welfare state and the indolence it generates.

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