Tacoma May Be a Million Dollars Richer, Thanks to Immigrants in Detention

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ICE: balancing state budgets one arrest at a time.
One of the federal government's traditional selling points on the census is that it determines how federal grant dollars are awarded. The higher the reported population in a given state, the more money it receives for things like roads, Medicare and food stamps.

Some states will be getting an added boost in the census numbers this year. Ironically, it may come by way of the very people the federal government is trying to kick out. That's the scoop from the AP's Manuel Valdes, who reports that detainees at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers across the country are being counted in the 2010 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau has made a concerted effort to encourage immigrants to fill out census forms. But according to Valdes, immigrants who are detained are being counted as residents of whichever city the regional detention center they've been transferred into, regardless of their origin. And what Puget Sound city stands to see the most benefit?

Tacoma, whose City Council last month wagged its collective finger at Arizona for passing a controversial immigration law.

ICE spokesperson Lori Dankers says that the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma averages a head count of 1,200 detainees. Speaking from the U.S. Census Bureau's regional office in Bothell, Deni Luna says that the average government benefit is $1,400 per year for every person counted for the census.

Over ten years, that works out to $1,680,000 in grant money that the city would not have received otherwise.

 
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