Forbes sponsors Kelsey Smith Act

Published 8:07 pm Thursday, November 12, 2009

Following are two recent excerpts from Congressman Randy Forbes’ blog, which he updates several times a week during the congressional session. The blog can be found at www.forbes.house.gov/Blog.

The Kelsey Smith Act

Nine days after she graduated high school, 18-year-old Kelsey Smith was abducted from a department store close to her home in Kansas in broad daylight. Realizing that Kelsey may still have had her cell phone, police detectives sought to use ping information to search for her. However, it took four days for authorities to cut through red tape to get the wireless provider to release her cell phone location information. Kelsey’s body was found four days later.

In abduction situations, every second counts. Having access to cell phone information in the moment can provide valuable information to police. In fact, after Kelsey’s body was found, authorities were eventually able to use the ping information to track where Kelsey’s cell phone had been during her abduction.

I have cosponsored a bill, The Kelsey Smith Act (HR 3717), which would require wireless communication companies to swiftly provide call location information in emergency situations that involve the risk of death or serious physical harm.

No parent should go through the agony of wading through red tape and paperwork when their child’s life is at stake. This bill gives investigators another tool to track missing persons and help save lives.

Illegal Immigrants & the Census

We’re just months away from the 2010 Census, and data is beginning to be collected across the country. The census is mandated by the Constitution (Article I, Section 2), but the language does not specify citizenship for the purpose of counting.

For the upcoming 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau is set to count all persons physically present in the U.S., including the 12 to 15 million persons here illegally. And next year for the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau is going to even greater lengths to count illegal immigrants by mailing bilingual census questionnaires to about 13 million households.

Counting illegal immigrants artificially inflates the population and could possibly give some states additional congressional seats (and take some from others). Illegal immigrants are not U.S. citizens, and they shouldn’t be counted in a survey that determines representation of U.S. citizens in Congress.

I’ve cosponsored a bill, H.J.Res.11, which states that only American citizens should be counted in the U.S. Census. The bill proposes a constitutional amendment to state that the apportionment of the number of congressional representatives from each state would be decided by counting the number of American citizens of each state.

While this bill won’t stop illegal immigration, it is a step forward in creating fair census data.

What do you think? Should illegal immigrants be counted in the census?