About 30,000 illegal immigrants facing deportation in detention centers across the U.S. are being counted in the decennial census, reports the Associated Press. By the time the census delivers the total tallies, many of the immigrants will be long gone. Because the population snapshot determines the allocation of some federal dollars, those in custody could help bring money to the towns, cities, and counties in Texas, Arizona, Washington, and Georgia where the biggest and newest facilities are located.
“I think the irony, if there’s any irony, is that the locality is what’s going to benefit, because you have a detention center in a particular city where people have been brought from different parts of the region, and that community will benefit,” said Arturo Vargas of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, an organization that has pushed Latinos to participate in the census. For the first time, however, states have the option of counting people in detention centers and prisons as residents of their last address before they’re detained, worrying some local lawmakers who say cities and counties that host detention centers could lose money.