Exceptions to the law made in 2010 census

Nicole Stejskal / Washburn Review

There have been several actions taken by the U.S. government over the years that have surprised and, at times, even shocked me. However, a recent effort by our administration has left me absolutely astounded.

With the start of a new decade, the U.S. Census Bureau is now administering the 2010 Census. In an effort to create more accurate records, the Bureau is promoting the survey’s efforts through advertising and encouraging everyone to fill out the survey…and I mean everyone.

In a report by CNN, the Census is especially encouraging individuals who live in towns along the southern U.S. border (called colonias) to provide information for the survey. Not only are these towns full of poverty, but they’re laden with illegal immigrants.

According to Robert Groves, 2010 Census director, illegal immigrants are allowed to fill out the survey without the fear of being deported, despite the obvious laws they’re breaking by not becoming a legal citizen.

The purpose behind this effort is to collect data about the towns and increase the amount of funding designated to these areas of hardship. The effort is admirable, as many of the colonias lack basic needs, such as water and sewage lines and electricity. In fact, I would applaud the good deed if it were not for the major problem we overlook along the way.

In the past few years, we’ve made several attempts as a nation to prevent individuals from immigrating to our country illegally. We’ve tried increasing border security but have met little success in that endeavor. And now that we’re actually identifying illegal immigrants, we’ve decided to do nothing about it.

While I understand the importance of obtaining accurate information for the Census, are we really willing to sacrifice the law for the sake of information? We don’t make exceptions to the law in any other case – why start now?

Additionally, one of the primary reasons so much poverty exists in the colonias is because there are so many illegal immigrants living there. Without the excessive amount of people, the town’s infrastructure might be able to support its residents, and the government might actually have the funding necessary to fix the colonias’ problems.

In my argument against illegal immigrants, I don’t want to appear racist or judgmental toward them. I know that I, as well as most other Americans, come from a family of immigrants, and I don’t discourage the choice they’re making. I think it’s wonderful that many of them move to the U.S. to pursue a better life for themselves and their families. I simply believe that if they come to our country and agree to abide by our laws, becoming a legal citizen should not be ignored.

As in the case of the 2010 Census, we have had the solution to one of our major problems at our fingertips, but the government never seems to grasp that solution while its still viable to our situation. While illegal immigration is one of many problems, the real issue lies with the powers that determine the future of our country. If we ever wish to see our nation’s issues resolved, we need to elect representatives who are willing to open their eyes, see the opportunity for change at hand and grab the bull by the horns.