Undocumented Immigrants Could Skew House, Balloon Taxes

Wednesday, 28 Oct 2009 08:58 AM

By James Walsh

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Representatives. . . shall be apportioned among the several states. . . according to their respective Numbers. . .The actual Enumeration shall be made. . . in every subsequent Term of ten years.

— The Constitution of the United States of America (Art. 1, Sec. 2)

In 1787, the U.S. Constitution did not specify whether the “respective numbers” to be enumerated every 10 years (U.S. Census) need to be citizens. In recent years, undocumented immigrants (illegal aliens) have hesitated to participate in the U.S. government count, for fear of deportation.

Now, with President Barack Obama promising a pathway to citizenship, watch for illegal aliens to come out of the shadows to be counted in the 2010 Census — and in numbers far exceeding government estimates.

In February, the Obama administration attempted to uproot the U.S. Census Bureau (founded in 1903 as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce) and place it within the White House. Congressional critics quashed this blatant power grab.

At issue in the 2010 Census will be the number of seats in the U.S. House allotted to each state for the next decade. A sharp rise in the count of illegal aliens could reshape congressional districts by changing how the 435 House seats are distributed among the states and how many Electoral College delegates each state will have.

The Census also will determine the share of federal dollars allotted to each state in the next decade. As an example, the 2000 U.S. Census numbers were used to determine the proportion of stimulus dollars going to each state. In the 2000 Census, many but certainly not all foreign-born people were counted; and 16 U.S. House seats were redistributed among the states, compared with the 12 House seats that the 1990 Census redistributed among the states.

Despite Obama’s assurances that immigration legislation is on its way, some Hispanic leaders are suggesting a Hispanic boycott of the 2010 Census.

The Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, has declared, “The truth is that the counting of undocumented immigrants creates what we call ghost electoral districts, and that is completely immoral.”

Rivera reveals something about the real numbers of illegal aliens in the United States, if there are enough to create “ghost electoral districts.” The boycott idea is a reaction to Obama's failure to fulfill his promises to Hispanic voters to move quickly on comprehensive immigration reform and legalization of illegal aliens. Other Hispanic leaders dismiss the idea of a boycott.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau, which has canceled its contract with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is hiring non-citizens as census takers.

If the 2010 Census shows dramatic increases in the number of undocumented immigrants, the impact will be felt in all aspects of life in the United States. The impact will include increased budgets for healthcare, education, and social and welfare programs, increases that will be passed on to long-suffering U.S. taxpayers.

Obama, in his latest speech on health insurance reform, put the number of uninsured at 50 million people living in the United States. Of these, 30 million are thought to be uninsured U.S. citizens, leaving an estimated 20 million uninsured immigrants (legal and illegal). This last number promises to be a lowball figure, as estimates of illegal aliens in the United States range from 20 million to upwards of 36 million men, women, and children.

Many illegal aliens, however, are already insured at taxpayer expense. In the heat of the health care debate, little notice was given to the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). Known better as CHIP, in effect since 1997, this program provides healthcare to low-income expectant mothers, babies, and children, who are “presumed eligible” notwithstanding immigration status.

Meanwhile, illegal aliens are risking their lives to enter the United States for healthcare. A recent poll in Mexico found that even the present U.S. economic downturn has not stopped Mexicans from trying to migrate to the United States for economic and health care reasons. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health institutions have traced ground zero for the H1N1-swine flu to Mexico, and illegal aliens coming across the border probably are bringing the virus with them. Illegal entry into the United States is not only an economic burden on U.S. taxpayers but also has been a public health issue all along.

As a sop to Latino activists, Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., have sponsored a bill to eliminate the five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to gain access to Medicaid and other health benefits or at least to reduce the time to two years. Ignoring “presumptive eligibility,” which already provides immigrants with healthcare, this bill is meant as a stopgap measure to address Hispanic complaints about Obama’s unfulfilled immigration promises.

Since the combined Senate bill is not available online for taxpayers to read, there is no way to know for sure what it contains. Immigrant advocates say that a citizenship requirement would be a capitulation to Senate Republicans. Previous efforts to require proof of citizenship have gone down in flames at the hands of the Democrat majority and Hispanic lobbyists.

The Rev. Nick Garza of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference is quoted as saying that demanding proof of citizenship to buy health insurance is de facto endorsement of racial profiling.

Yet without a citizenship-verification requirement in the 2010 Census and in the final Obamacare bill, millions of yet-to-be-counted illegal aliens will run up the cost of this legislation. By their sheer numbers, undocumented immigrants now in the United States and those on their way will result in massive cost overruns.

Reality is not the strong suit of immigrant advocates or of Democrats on Capitol Hill who refuse to acknowledge that Obamacare will cost U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars. Well-intentioned or not, Obamacare could contribute to the financial ruin of the Republic.

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