Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why the 2010 Census Matters

Melissa Rentería - Conexión

Census Day is April 1, but the official forms that aim to get a snapshot of America should arrive at households days before then.

The catchy slogans — “You can’t move forward until you send it back” and “It’s in our hands” — urging U.S. residents to fill out the forms should become more frequent as March 15, the day census forms are mailed, approaches.

Census workers say they want to make sure that residents understand why it’s important to participate in the census, including the distribution of federal funds, and dispel myths associated with it. One of the ways that the U.S. Census Bureau is trying to get the word out include celebrity-endorsed public service announcements.

Other outreach to Hispanics includes the formation of Texas Latino Complete Count Committee, which aims to mobilize Latinos to be fully counted in the 2010 census. The Latino civil rights organization Mexican American Legal Defense Fund formed the committee.

“We believe it’s in the best interest of our state in terms of representation and our tax dollars flowing back to Texas for every Texan to be counted in the census and we will look at ways to help ensure that happens,” Gov. Rick Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said in a statement.

According to MALDEF, the 2000 Census left an estimated 373,567 people in Texas uncounted, and the state missed out on more than $1 billion in federal funds over the last decade. MALDEF officials said Latinos, particularly immigrants, students and the working poor, are among the most difficult to count.

The census is used to determine how $400 billion in federal funds are distributed to local communities. Census totals also are used to determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, and states use census totals to redraw their legislative districts.

1 comment:

Courtney Robinson said...

Here is another article that I was interesting regarding the 2010 Census-Courtney

The Latest | Immigration Nation
Participation in Census Still in Doubt Among Undocumented Immigrants
Feb 18, 2010
Latin American Herald Tribune

CHICAGO – The broad campaign launched by the Census Bureau to convince the immigrant population to participate in the 2010 count is not convincing those who feel that responding to the census takers could complicate their situation in the United States.

Starting in March, the Bureau will begin distributing forms so that all people in the country, including undocumented immigrants, may be counted and it has emphasized on numerous occasions that the information it collects will be confidential.

In fact, the U.S. Constitution establishes that the government every 10 years must make a count of all the residents of the country, not just those who are citizens.

However, among the population of people without legal status, like Maria Figueroa, there exists a fear of being counted.

“If they ask me about my immigration status I would simply not tell them yes or no, because I don’t know if they’re going to share that information with immigration (authorities),” Figueroa told Efe.

This fear is being expressed by immigrants in their telephone calls to radio programs directed at the immigrant community in Illinois, like Tania Unzueta’s program in Chicago.

Her program – “Sin papeles” (Without papers) – offers help to the immigrant community, including advice and recommendations about life in the United States.

“The program tries to connect the immigrant community, especially the undocumented people, with what’s happening in national and local politics,” she told Efe.

The issue of the Census is one of the subjects dealt with on that program and the community broadcaster Radio Arte will make time available during it for the Census and undocumented immigrants.

“It’s a double mission, on the one hand informing people about the importance of participating in the Census and on the other informing them about their rights,” said the show host, who also gives advice to her listeners about what to do if an immigration agent comes to their homes.

There are immigrants without papers who trust what the government is saying, as is the case with Yenni Popoca, who, despite being undocumented, is not afraid of opening the door of her house and recommends that people “answer the questionnaire,” since she feels that “it has nothing to do with immigration.”