Oh, No, Arizona Law May Cause Census Problems

Darn. Those pesky illegals, who shouldn’t be counted in the first place, might be too scared to answer the Census

About 70 parents usually attend monthly parent-teacher meetings here at the Pena Blanca Elementary School. In April, at the last meeting of this school year, only 20 showed up.

“There is a little fear,” says Sandra Figueroa, principal of this Santa Cruz County school 12 miles from the Mexican border.

Good, they should get out. Criminals should have fear of being caught.

Fear, mistrust, anger. The immigration law approved by the Arizona Legislature last month requires police to determine a person’s immigration status if they’re stopped, detained or arrested and there is “reasonable suspicion” they’re here illegally. It has sparked legal challenges and strong emotions on both sides of the immigration debate.

For a change, a news source actually wrote about the law correctly. Someone’s head is probably rolling at the USA Today for that.

Whatever its future, the law could not have come at a worse time for the 2010 Census.

In Arizona, many civic groups fear the new law will discourage cooperation.

“I’ve talked to friends and people in the community, and they’re saying – whatever they think of the law, wherever they stand on the issue: ‘I’m not going to open the door to anyone right now,’ ” says Tucson City Councilor Regina Romero, who represents largely Hispanic neighborhoods.

“People are scared, they’re frightened,” says Laura Cummings, a Census employee who works with local groups to build community support.

We shouldn’t be counting non-citizens in the first place. Unfortunately, the US Census Bureau has a different opinion. Considering that the census determines where over $400 billion is returned back to the States, as well as the apportionment of House seats, among others, it seems kinda crazy to skew the population numbers by adding illegals, as well as legal non-citizens, into the count.

Isabel Garcia, a lawyer and co-chair of Coalición de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Coalition) in Tucson, has taken to the airwaves, even filling out her Census form on the radio to talk listeners through the process.

“Our communities are living in a very heightened state of anxiety,” she says, citing low turnout at this year’s Cinco de Mayo festival, a celebration of the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

A celebration that occurs pretty much in America and the Mexican province of Puebla, thanks to beer companies. That’s not to diminish the victory, mind you. Anyhow, if the illegals want to celebrate, let them go home to their country of origin. And it is good that they have “anxiety.” Again, that is the way that criminals should feel.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach

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