Forget abiding by that pesky little thing called law. There’s money on the line!

…Or at least that’s what Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is telling illegal immigrants living in her state. The New York Daily News reports:

Stand and be counted – or we can’t get government cash.

That’s the word from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, who said Monday that it’s safe for undocumented immigrants to fill out 2010 U.S. Census forms that will hit city residents’ mailboxes this week.

“Invisible people do not count in this country,” Cortes-Vazquez told reporters at a lower Manhattan news conference. “Invisible people do not have a voice.” …

Census figures help determine where government cash goes for hospitals, school services, public housing, social services, food stamps and other programs, and how many seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Census form has 10 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to fill out, said Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) By law, the responses are confidential; other federal agencies aren’t allowed to see them. …

“For Latinos, the fear is immigration authorities,” said Hispanic Federation President Lillian Rodriguez Lopez. “We’re working to make sure (fears of) immigration raids don’t put a damper on Census participation.”

SOURCE

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