ICE should give the U.S. Census Bureau the cold shoulder ... /708190317

Just when I thought I'd heard almost everything in the debate over illegal immigration, a new revelation came to light this week: The Census Bureau actually had the nerve to ask Immigrations and Customs Enforcement to cease all raids during the 2010 census.

It seems that the bureau thinks it can get a more accurate count of how many people are living illegally in our country if ICE will discontinue its law-enforcement raids during the next constitutionally mandated count. Sadly, based on published reports, it appears that immigration-enforcement officials did suspend raids during the 2000 census. The bureau wants the same cooperation this time around.

It's somewhat humorous to think that suspending raids will greatly improve accuracy during the count. After all, we're talking about counting an estimated 12 million people who prefer to remain invisible so that they aren't deported.

At the same time, there is no humor whatsoever in the reasoning behind the desire to accurately count illegal immigrants. The Constitution requires counting all residents of the states so that representation in the U.S. House can be apportioned properly. So, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that representation in the House could be skewed because of illegal immigration.
Some lawmakers, including Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., have caught on to this point and have introduced legislation for a constitutional amendment that would require the census to count only U.S. citizens living in each state.

The fact that people who are breaking the law by their very presence in the country could alter the representation in the American government is appalling. It's no wonder Americans are upset.

But it's equally appalling to hear some of the things that come from some people's mouths. For example, I recently talked to a man on the phone in reference to a column I wrote promoting donations to the Dixie and Iron County Care and Shares. He told me that the only reason for the shortage was that food was being distributed to illegal immigrants.

He actually told me that we should let the illegal immigrants' children starve. That, he reasoned, would prompt the lawbreakers to go home.

Sorry. I'm very much against illegal immigration. But treating people as though they are less than human is where I draw the line. I thanked the man for sharing his opinion, and then I hung up the phone before he could reply.

On the other extreme, some people think we should reward the immigrants who broke the law by granting amnesty and citizenship. That's also wrong.

The truly scary thing about this problem is that there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. Many lawmakers talk a good game when it comes to implementing guest-worker programs and ramping up enforcement. But relatively few bills get introduced. Relatively little additional money is actually allocated.

So, the problem just gets worse by the day. Washington, D.C., is paralyzed - in part because lawmakers allowed the issue to grow so large over the course of decades that they don't know where to begin and in part because winning an election is more important than the public service that some lawmakers claim they want to provide.

There, indeed, is much to do.

We need to protect our borders far better than we have in the past. We need to figure out a way to find - and then punish - businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

We need to be humane. We need to be fair.

We also need to enforce our laws.

ICE should ignore the Census Bureau's request and keep the raids going while the nation's population is counted.

The last thing our nation needs on this issue is more inaction.