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?