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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > General > The future of the Latino community depends on ALL Latinos participating in the 2010 Census

The future of the Latino community depends on ALL Latinos participating in the 2010 Census

LatinaLista — The U.S. Census is getting the nation ready for the 2010 Census. Yet, some Hispanic immigrant organizations are telling undocumented immigrants not to participate in the census. It’s bad advice that in the long run does more harm than good.
These days, the quickest way to polarize a conversation is to bring up immigration reform. It’s an issue that creates its own wall between opposing sides. The ironic thing is that it’s also an issue that has done more, than any other issue in recent memory, to unify the greater Latino community.
It’s an issue that mobilized Latino voters of all ages to go to the polls like never before. It has served as the rallying cry to draw millions of marchers to the streets. In fact, just about anything done in the name of immigration reform will draw a willing audience to help advance awareness of the issue.
So far, events organized around immigration reform have all been positive actions to show Washington that the whole Latino community is serious about wanting congressional action — until now.
Recently, the National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders released a statement urging undocumented immigrants not to fill out the upcoming Census forms to be used in the 2010 Census unless Congress passes “genuine immigration reform.”
The rationale behind the call-to-inaction is that if everyone fills out the forms then the documented upswing in the Latino population will be used against local communities. They fear without an approved immigration reform measure in place, census results will lead to an increase in raids and taking people into deportation proceedings.
It’s a misguided rationale that only serves as being counterproductive to the gains accomplished thus far in this ongoing battle. At the same time, it’s planting an unnecessary fear in the minds of undocumented immigrants and their families.


The coalition’s request implies that U.S. Census workers are just another tool of the Department of Homeland Security when it comes to immigration enforcement. They’re not.
As everyone knows, there is no box to check to say if someone is in the country legally or not. None of the answers can be shared with any other government entity and all answers are confidential.
Any kind of stepped up enforcement usually results more from the physical evidence of seeing a demographic change in a particular community rather than from results of a survey about a year old when the information is finally disseminated.
For such an esteemed organization, that claims to represent 20,000 evangelical churches in 34 states, the coalition’s directive does a disservice to both undocumented and legal Latino residents.
The main goal of any immigration reform measure is to bring the undocumented out of the proverbial shadows. The U.S. Census accomplishes this by allowing them, for the first time, to have an official voice. It is an anonymous voice but it’s a voice nonetheless that gives them an equal opportunity to be counted and their presence no longer ignored.
In turn, their participation counts towards creating a realistic picture of today’s Latino community. No longer would researchers or analysts have to rely on anecdotal information regarding the number of Latinos living in the country.
It’s information that benefits each local Latino community as well. A more accurate count translates into more federal dollars that pay for services that everyone needs and uses. Politically, it expands representation in the House of Representatives. More people means greater opportunities to elect budding Latino/a leaders.
While the fear that the extra money allotted a particular community based on the census results will only go to hire more police officers who will racially profile and/or act as immigration enforcement officers, there’s exists signs that this administration has a different approach to enforcing immigration policy that doesn’t include terrorizing working people and their families.
So far, Latino citizens have stood beside their undocumented hermanos/as and marched with them and cast their votes with them in mind. It’s now time for the undocumented to take advantage of the one opportunity to return the favor and stand up to be counted.

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Comment(10)

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 21, 2009 at 4:22 am

    “It’s information that benefits each local Latino community as well. A more accurate count translates into more federal dollars that pay for services that everyone needs and uses. Politically, it expands representation in the House of Representatives. More people means greater opportunities to elect budding Latino/a leaders.”
    And why should information about the number of Latino illegal immigrants be used to expand Congressional delegations? They are not legitimate constituents of elected officials and they are certainly not entitled to benefits designated for citizens, so why should the weight of their numbers be included in the census, except to steal an unfair share of the American pie?. Imploring illegal immigrants to take part in the census is exactly why non-Hispanics are suspicious of the true motives Latino activists. Americans should not trust Latino immigration advocates just for this reason. It is apparent that your true motive for supporting illegal immigration is to cheat the rest of Americans and to gain political influence beyond what the numbers of citizens and legal immigrants would call for. It is evident that Latino advocates are engaging in aiding and abetting illegal immigration for one reason, to gain control of this country. You are condemned by your own words. Is it no wonder that Latinos are becoming more disliked everyday?

  • Avatar
    C. Rodriguez
    April 21, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Marisa,
    I agree that whatever the reason that leaders of CONLAMIC have for calling for this in-action the result will be counterproductive to the interests of all the Latino community. In fact, boycotting the census will bring immigrant communities greater scrutiny due to the fact that NOT mailing back the census form will generate house calls by census bureau staff in an effort to count everyone.
    The Census Bureau has a Constitutional mandate to count everyone living in the U.S. and they will accomplish their mandate regardless of misguided efforts to the contrary.
    It is important to point out that for the 2010 census, unlike previous years, everyone will receive the short form. These forms contain only 10 questions. The forms do not ask any questions as to your citizenship status
    Thus, there is no way anyone that fills out the form can be labeled or picked out as being undocumented because the forms do not ask this question!
    I end by sharing a quote from one of our top Latina leaders in the U.S. Congress;
    (WashingtonDC) – The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Chairwoman of the CHC, stated the following in response to those statements:
    “The CHC has been working since the last census wrapped up nearly 9 years ago to ensure a fair and equal count in 2010. The next decade will be dictated by these numbers, and they must provide an accurate portrait of our nation and the needs of its diverse communities. To not be counted would have political implications and jeopardize vital resources, including federal funding for schools, health care, job training and infrastructure.”
    HAGANZE CONTAR!

  • Avatar
    Karen
    April 21, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Re: “They fear without an approved immigration reform measure in place, census results will lead to an increase in raids and taking people into deportation proceedings.”
    Is that true? Is it in the best interest of an undocumented worker to fill out a census form? Are they being manipulated into being counted–even if it puts them in danger–just so that somebody else can get political power?
    The census doesn’t ask about immigration status, and the information is supposed to be confidential, but I think it would stil be risky for them to fill it out.
    That being said, the government needs to know how many people are really here. They can’t plan for future transporation projects, housing, etc if they don’t know how many people are using the roads, houses,etc. Some people think that if you don’t count them it means they don’t exist.
    Plus the constitution requires a count of all people in the United States, regardless of immigration status.
    The government needs to get this straightened out. I’m sick of it.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    April 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Horace said
    It is apparent that your true motive for supporting illegal immigration is to cheat the rest of Americans and to
    One minute there buster. First of all no one supports illegal immigration. That is why we support CIR! That way there will be no illegal immigration.
    Now while we’re on the subject of cheating……did you forget all the cheating that white people have done to steal this land from American Indians? American Indians are returning to their homelands whether you like it or not!!
    O and by the way your little tirade about Mexicans not being American Indians is wrong. If they are Spanish as you state. Then Black U.S.citizens and Northern Native American citizens would be considered European like those that invaded and pillaged these lands as the European Spanish and French did in Mexico.
    You say bringing up history does no good because that is in the past.
    To me and thousands of Americans it does good because it shows what a hypocrit you are.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 22, 2009 at 4:36 am

    Anyone who thinks that CIR will solve illegal immigration, when all of Mexico wants to abandon their country, is an idiot. Without fixing Mexico’s economic problems, CIR couldn’t possibly work. None of you fools ever talk about fixing that part of the problem as part of CIR, but you can’t see any farther than our border when it comes to solutions. It’s all the U.S. fault as you’re concerned. And there are not enough guest worker jobs in the U.S. for every Latin American who wants one. And when they come regardless, you’ll still scream that it’s not fair to round them up and send them home.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 22, 2009 at 4:49 am

    “One minute there buster. First of all no one supports illegal immigration. That is why we support CIR! That way there will be no illegal immigration.”
    Gee, but you don’t seem to mind cheating by packing your numbers into the census count by including illegal aliens, do you? It seems to me that it is duplicitous to say that you don’t want illegal immigration and then say that illegal immigrants should be counted in order for the community to get benefits. No non-Hispanic can believe that Latino advocates motives are only pure under such circumstances.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    April 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Horace said
    Gee, but you don’t seem to mind cheating by packing your numbers into the census count by including illegal aliens, do you? It seems to me that it is duplicitous to say that you don’t want illegal immigration and then say that illegal immigrants should be counted in order for the community to get benefits. No non-Hispanic can believe that Latino advocates motives are only pure under such circumstances.
    Show me where I said
    “packing your numbers into the census count by including illegal aliens”
    I didnt even comment on that…….because I dont give a hoot one way or another.
    I am here to expose racism, hypocrisy and lies used by hate mongering extremists to demonize Obama and minorities.
    I have already told you that! Dont you remember?

  • Avatar
    Karen
    April 23, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Re: “Without fixing Mexico’s economic problems, CIR couldn’t possibly work.”
    That’s true. They have to repeal NAFTA because that’s what driving Mexican farmers and others off of their land and pushing them north. That was the intended goal of NAFTA. There is nothing surprising about immigration to the people who have crafted this policy.
    But the rabble are conditioned to blame the victims of NAFTA instead of the architects of NAFTA.
    In addition, as long as our country depends on exploitable agricultural workers to keep food prices down, there will be illegal immigration.
    Illegal immigration has as much to do with our own country as it does with Mexico.
    I wish the current Mexican President had not been allowed to steal the last election (with the help of the global elite). If the liberal candidate had won maybe he could have broken away from the Washington Consensus and the IMF just like South America is doing.
    But they implemented Plan Mexico/The Merida Plan to keep that from happening.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    April 24, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Karen, stop sticking your nose into Mexican business. Mexico is a democracy and not a child. Who the hell are you to tell Mexico what to do. If I were a Mexican I’d feel insulted by your statements. Mexico can aborgate the treaty at will, should it believe it is in its interests to do so. Blaming the U.S. for what was purely a Mexican decision is stupid. It’s apparent that the Mexican people believe that the benefits of NAFTA outweigh its negative aspects.

  • Avatar
    Bill Bartmann
    September 19, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Great site…keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,
    A definite great read.. 🙂
    -Bill-Bartmann

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