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The Census Bureau Asks the Government Not to Enforce Immigration Laws

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 17, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Counting is supposed to be easy, but when it comes to illegal immigration, well, all the numbers seem to add up to a Catch-22.

Now, according to the Census Bureau, the only way to come up with an accurate count on the illegal immigrants in the upcoming 2010 census is to break the law and suspend enforcement raids. But is that really a good idea?

Joining us now, Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller is with us.

All right. Congresswoman, I'm trying — I'm trying to figure this out. We have a Census Bureau. They've got the 2010 census coming. Part of that census, they're going to want to figure out the number of illegal immigrants in the country.

And they're actually saying we need to get an accurate number. And the way to get the accurate number is to stop deporting and enforcing the law. Tell me my government is not that messed up. Please. That's all I want to hear. Tell me that this is not true:

REP. CANDICE MILLER (R), MICHIGAN: Hey, Sean, it's nuts. You know, my question would be — is what country does the Census Bureau actually live in? The last time I looked at it, they lived in America.

And guess what? They are federal government employees, and their wages are being paid by the American taxpayers.

So I would just say look to the Census Bureau, do your job and, just because it's perhaps inconvenient for you to do your job...

HANNITY: Yes.

MILLER: ... by having another federal agency enforce the laws, that is America.

HANNITY: So they're saying — the Census Bureau's actually saying — and again, this is all for the benefit, supposedly, of American taxpayers, that all immigration raids stop because we need an accurate number here.

Is there anybody that's taking this seriously? Is there any chance that this happens? Or is this one of these crazy things we read about, you know? Or maybe it's a $600 hammer again. Is that — what — what's happening?

MILLER: You know — you know, interestingly enough, there's some talk that perhaps this happened during the last census, that there was some going — something going on there with the Census Bureau, actually at the Customs and Immigration, and Customs and Enforcement, not to have raids.

And apparently, that is what is happening now with the Census Bureau again. They have said, "We would like you not to do any raids or enforce the existing immigration law for a couple of months before we do the census and then for a couple of months after, because we don't want these people going underground."

Well, guess what? You know, my district is a melting pot, an ethnic melting pot. People came here. They followed the laws. They became legal American citizens.

HANNITY: But wait...

MILLER: They're not afraid of the government.

ESTRICH: Congresswoman, if I could interrupt you, because this is a very short segment. As I read the Constitution — and it's kind of my job — the Constitution says you have to count all persons.

You introduced an amendment that hasn't passed to say change it to citizens. So as long as we're under this Constitution in this country, their job is to count all persons.

How are you going to count all persons, including illegal immigrants, if at the very same time you're asking people to tell you their status? You're threatening to deport them if they tell you their status. I mean, what else can they do?

MILLER: You know, if they are here illegally, if they have — those who broke the law to come here to our country should not be here, first of all. And you're absolutely right. I did introduce a constitutional amendment because the Census Bureau is required under our current law to count all persons.

And I'm saying they should count only citizens. Actually, my amendment, though, is only for the purposes of congressional representation, because it's interesting to note that there a number of congressional districts, six in the state of California alone, purely based on illegal immigrants that are here.

ESTRICH: They're not purely based on illegal immigrants, but as I understand it, your amendment hasn't passed. And as long as we have the Constitution, we do have, they have to count persons.

So I don't know, Sean. How do you count somebody and ask them to come forward and tell you their status, if telling you is going to result in their deportation? This is an effort to enforce the law.

MILLER: And maybe by enforcing the law we have a positive spin off by actually enforcing our current immigration laws. That is what the American people want us to do. That's what I'm paid to do. That's what the Census Bureau workers are paid to do, as well as ICE .

HANNITY: As we're counting, Susan, and as we find them, and you're in the country illegally, we find you. We deport and send you home.

ESTRICH: But nobody is going to tell you that you're here, and you don't get an accurate census.

HANNITY: I'm not that worried about the numbers. I'd rather care about...

(CROSSTALK)

ESTRICH: Well, you don't care about enforcing the Constitution. That's where it says count all persons.

HANNITY: All persons.

MILLER: Is it more important — is it more important for us to have an accurate count or enforce the laws?

ESTRICH: It's a separate law. More important not to follow the constitution.

HANNITY: I'd rather — I'd rather enforce the law about illegal immigration.

MILLER: I would say enforce the laws.

HANNITY: All right. Thank you, Congresswoman. Appreciate your time.

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