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 Illegal immigration poses problem for census

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Join date : 2009-04-22
Posts : 240
Location : Piedmont NC

PostSubject: Illegal immigration poses problem for census   Sat May 16, 2009 5:29 pm

Illegal immigration poses problem for census
May 12, 2009 - 12:19 PM
McClatchy News Service

The challenge looms large for census takers in North Carolina as they prepare to count illegal immigrants in a time of rising deportations and anti-immigrant sentiment.

The campaign to inform Latinos about the 2010 Census has begun, with officials working against both concerns that census information might be shared with immigration officials and a national movement calling for illegal immigrants to boycott the census unless immigration reform is enacted.

Census data is used to allocate congressional seats and federal funds for roads, social services, parks and other local projects. A failure to count North Carolina's large illegal immigrant population -- estimated at 300,000 -- could result in major losses for the state. The last census gave North Carolina a new congressman and revealed North Carolina as one of the fastest-growing immigrant destinations in the country.

Most local Latino advocates say they will work with the census, but even many of them are offering more tepid support than in the past.

"We can't afford not to be counted," said Tony Asion, director of the statewide advocacy group El Pueblo. "But I understand the mentality of the boycott. If we don't count, why should we be counted?"

Tony Jones, a spokesman for the census in Charlotte, said census employees are working with dozens of groups across the state, including Latino advocacy groups, Spanish media and churches to clear up misconceptions about the once-a-decade count. Since mid-April, they have been working with those groups to distribute Spanish-language brochures and air radio and television spots.

Federal law prohibits personal information collected for the census from being shared for 72years after it is collected. "Not even the United States president can get any of that information," Jones said.

Jones also said the census form will not ask any questions about immigration status.

Many Latino leaders say the census is a way for Hispanic immigrants to assert their presence, as well as to assure funding for community services that many illegal immigrants use, including parks, health clinics and benefits that go to their U.S.-born children.

"It's a way to have an accurate picture of who we are, and show that we have all different kinds of people living in this country," said Andrea Bazan of Durham, head of the board of the nation's largest Hispanic advocacy group, National Council of La Raza.

But others say that, even though they still believe in the importance of the census, they are not sure they can persuade their communities to embrace it -- not after raids in which people were taken from their homes at night and not after many have been deported after committing minor traffic offenses.

Ilana Dubester, director of El Centro Latino in Carrboro, said she worked for years to persuade Hispanic immigrants to trust law enforcement and report crimes. Now, many law enforcement agencies are working with federal immigration officials.

And she said there are no guarantees that Congress won't change the law and attempt to pry into census information. She said some lawmakers have tried to do so with the tax identification numbers that many illegal immigrants use, despite former assurances that the information was private.

"If I was undocumented, I honestly don't know if I would participate," Dubester said. "It's a government that's coming after me, and I don't have any trust."
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March Mellow

Join date : 2009-04-26
Posts : 209
Location : Char-Meck

PostSubject: Re: Illegal immigration poses problem for census   Sat May 16, 2009 8:59 pm

Why the crap would we skew voting districts for those not eligible to vote? Why should we count people here illegally for social service money distribution? Why should we even ask what "race" someone is--which really gets me po'd, if someone asks if I am a non-Hispanic white. HISPANIC IS NOT A RACE!!!!!
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