Tag: 2010 Census

Lawmaker Wants Immigration Raids Suspended to Ensure Census Accuracy

By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor

As census workers hit the streets across the country to start verifying addresses in preparation for next year’s head count, the chair of a key House subcommittee is urging the government to relax enforcement of immigration laws to ensure that minorities and the undocumented are not undercounted on April 1, 2010.

Immigration restrictionists and conservatives are incensed at the Census Bureau’s efforts to count “all illegal aliens in 2010.”

The 2010 Census is becoming yet another battleground in the immigration reform wars.

U.S. Rep. William Clay (D.-Mo.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, “said he plans to ask the Obama administration to suspend immigration raids over the next year,” Fox News reported. “He wants the raids put on hold so illegal immigrants don’t worry that sharing accurate information with Census workers could somehow expose them to punishment, even deportation.”

Clay said in a recent news release that the last Census “missed 3 million Americans. Many of them were African American or Hispanic, most were poor, and all of them deserved to be counted.

“…The Census is really about three things: information, federal funding, and proper political representation,” Clay added. “When we miss any American, we deprive his or her community of all three of those precious resources. Every American counts, and every American deserves to be counted.”

As we reported previously, the Census Bureau has already started reaching out to immigrant communities to ensure an accurate count. The acting director of the Census Bureau, Thomas Mesenbourg, told conservative news site CNSNews.com that the agency intends to count “every (U.S.) resident whether they’re documented, undocumented, whether they are citizens or non-citizens.”

This means,” wrote CNSNews.com’s Nicholas Ballasy, “that a state harboring more illegal aliens can gain more House seats as long as the Census Bureau finds the illegal aliens and counts them. This also means that the illegal alien population resident in the United States during a census year has the potential to alter the regional and philosophical balance of power in Congress.” (more…)

U.S. Census Reaches Out to Ethnic Media To Avoid Undercounting Of Minorities

Census regional director Kathleen Ludgate at a talk with New England ethnic reporters.

Census regional director Kathleen Ludgate at a talk with New England ethnic reporters.

The 2010 U.S. Census gets underway one year from now. Amid concerns over an undercount of immigrants and ethnic minorities, census officials recently met with ethnic media journalists from New England to address fears and suspicions that may discourage people from participating in the census survey.

According to the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights there are three main reasons why the 2010 census will be especially challenging:

  • The rise of anti-immigrant rhetoric, and heightened immigrant enforcement activities, have created real fear and distrust of the government;
  • The foreclosure crisis and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have displaced millions of people, making it hard to do an accurate count; and
  • As the first census after 9/11, the Census Bureau will have to deal with Americans’ privacy concerns about how their information is used.

The journalists attending the meeting in Boston represented TV, radio, Internet and newspaper media for African American, Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Chinese, Polish and Spanish communities. Census regional director Kathleen Ludgate told them that the census needs to create media buzz where it matters, in the communities.

“The idea here is to have ethnic journalists tell us the talking points that interest their own readers,” she said.

Addressing the fear that some undocumented residents have about answering the census, Ludgate said “whether it’s the Patriot Act or anything else that’s happened over this decade, the Census Bureau has a good track record of maintaining confidentiality.”

Some immigrants workers have told ethnic newspapers and radio programs that they fear personal information could be used against them if it is revealed to local authorities — even if the information turns out to be inaccurate.

“We don’t share information with the city or anyone else. The only purpose for the data we collect is for the census,” assured Ludgate, whose Region I office oversees all six states of New England, upstate New York, and Puerto Rico.

Census media specialist Cesar Monzon explained, all employees of the census sign an oath of confidentiality, which is renewed annually. Anyone who reveals specific information about any household would be subject to up to five years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine.

In addition, federal laws require that specific data about residents be concealed for 72 years before it can be made accessible to the general public. (more…)