Thursday, February 18, 2010

Undocumented Immigrants Should Participate in Census But Fear Exposure

According to a story by the Latin American Herald Tribune, the undocumented immigrant population in the United States are reluctant to participate in the 2010 U.S. Census Count.  The Census Bureau has launched a broad campaign to convince the immigrant population to participate in the 2010 count.  The census count determines issues such as federal spending, political representation, access to government programs, and other important issues.  It is important for undocumented immigrants to have their voices be heard and to be counted in the 2010 Census.

Many undocumented people, however,  fear that responding to the census takers could complicate their situation in the United States.  Some are concerned that responses to the question regarding immigration status would be shared with immigration authorities.  This fear is being expressed by immigrants to community activists, and in telephone calls to radio programs directed at immigrant communities.

Starting in March, the Census Bureau will begin distributing forms so that all people in the country -- including undocumented immigrants -- may be counted.  These forms clearly state that the information it collects will be confidential.  The census is required by the U.S. Constitution, which states that the government must count ALL the residents of the country, not just those who are citizens, every 10 years.  The Census Bureau notes that if people answer the questionnaires and return them in the mail on time, they will not be visited by the survey takers in April when the Census count officially begins.

A recent study by America’s Voice concluded that participation by Hispanics in the Census could definitely have an effect with regard to the makeup of Congress.  That study determined that the number of legislators will change in 19 states as a result of counting all Hispanic residents of those states.

More information and the full article is available at http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=352515&CategoryId=12395.

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