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Population questions

Posted Thursday, August 9, 2007, at 9:02 AM

This morning's Tennessean has a story that is part of their continuing series on the impact that massive growth is having on the mid-state area.

This one deals with our Hispanic neighbors:

The latest census estimate shows Tennessee with the largest Hispanic population in its history -- but there probably are thousands more who weren't counted.

If you remember, the T-G reported earlier this summer that census estimates were probably way off due to the number of those who simply didn't report themselves.

While the latest census figures from 2006 say that 11.7 percent of Bedford County is currently Hispanic, which gives the county the highest number per capita in Tennessee, Boyce has been told by Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] officials that that figure is likely 20 percent or even more.

"If you're showing 10,000, you've got 20,000," is what federal immigration officials have explained to the sheriff. "'You've got a lot more than is reported,' the ICE people told me," Boyce said. "A lot more."

The Tennessean article gives the official census numbers for Bedford County as 12 percent, the highest in the state, but also agrees with what we reported in July.

In Robertson County, for example, the census estimates 3,546 Hispanic residents, but Robertson County Mayor Howard Bradley said the county sheriff estimates the number closer to 7,000 to 10,000 in the fast-growing county of 62,000 people.

"It's been incredibly expensive, as you might imagine," Bradley said. "We have a very, very large number. At our health department, 40 percent of the patients are Hispanic -- whether they're documented or not, I don't know."

The question is: How many of these folks do we actually have here, and with the costs involved with providing services for them, what does this mean for the future of Bedford County and other rural areas? If we receive state and federal money based on the head count and if those numbers are totally inaccurate, what then?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I agree My Neighbor. We are only fueling the problem by allowing illegals to stay by giving them jobs and benefits.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Aug 9, 2007, at 1:35 PM

This is an incredibly complex problem that could be fixed very simply. Put enough troops on and under the border when they find the tunnels to actually deter the flow of illegal aliens from crossing. I agree that we are simply telling people that it is ok to break our laws as long as you enter illegally under the guise of seeking a better life. Have you ever been to Mexico or read or heard of how they treat criminals that enter their borders illegally? I am all for helping people that need the help as long as they are making a concerted effort to help themselves. The first rule in my mind should be- Is that person a law abiding citizen? I would submit that thumbing ones' nose at this country's laws as your first act upon arrival is not conducive to a better life. It must be a weird feeling indeed to have to constantly worry that you will be discovered during a traffic stop, employment verification, etc. Most of the hispanics that come here are good folks and I have no problem with them coming here and being good neighbors and friends. It is the ones that come and take jobs under assumed names while collecting state and county benefits under another one that gripes me. I was in the grocery the other day and followed a family in line that bought over 500 dollars worth of food and paid with food stamps. As I was getting into my vehicle I noticed that same family loading their bags into a very pricey SUV with a shiny new ski boat behind it. My dad has told me many times that one day we are going to wake up and find our country no longer belongs to us without a shot ever being fired. I am afraid that he may be right if we don't wake up and quit trying to be so politically correct.

-- Posted by jjones on Fri, Aug 10, 2007, at 3:31 PM

That just really pisses me off..I work with the elderly and I have several elderly women here who live on less than $600.00 a month in Social Security and the Food Stamp office is giving them $25.00 a Month in Food Stamps. These women are American and have worked their entire lives and we give them $25.00 a month..to me that is a slap in the face from our own government.I get mad when I think of how we just toss our elderly away like yesterday's trash.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Aug 10, 2007, at 3:54 PM

Oh, Dianatn, that just makes me want to cry! I have a soft spot for the old folks too and especially the older Veterans and/or Veterans widows. It just ain't fair! My mom-in-law only gets $830 a month. She currently takes six medications. They NEVER had money to save for retirement with six kids. Its just a sad state of affairs........

-- Posted by countrymom on Fri, Aug 10, 2007, at 4:07 PM

I know I try to do dinner's at my office a couple of times a month where several of us cook and bring things in ..I am afraid these older ladies just aren't eating. The last time we had one of these dinners we fixed fried chicken and I always fix way too much fried chicken even at home for my family but one of these ladies wanted to know if she could take some home for the next day...I went home and cried it broke my heart to think that she knew she needed to eat again the next day and needed something. So now a couple of times a week I cook a big meal at home and bring them plates the next day..it seems to help some and it makes me feel better knowing they are eating.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Aug 10, 2007, at 4:16 PM

I agree with all the posts here. I am all for giving someone a helping hand but not a hand out. I don't mind people coming here from other countries to provide a better life but we have rules that must be followed. These rules include paying taxes and paying bills such as car insurance. As in everything it seems its those of us who follow the rules who pay for those who don't. A few examples, higher medical/property insurance, higher taxes which reminds me of income tax refunds that reward those who don't work (or report their income) with several thousand dollars while those who work (legally & honestly)are barely breaking even or paying in taxes.

My husband & I both work full time jobs to provide our family with a roof to sleep under & food to eat. We were both raised up hearing "you gotta work if you want to eat" & our kids hear the same from us. I get very irritated when I see healthy people of any nationality abusing the system.

Definite changes need to be made to switch our priorities of taking care of the abled to taking care of our elderly & those who really need the help.

-- Posted by DannysGal on Sat, Aug 11, 2007, at 10:04 PM

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Brian Mosely is a staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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