Just read this story, and if I understand it properly, it suggests boycotting so that localities don’t receive additional federal funding that could be used for ‘crackdowns’. Additionally, it wouldn’t allow the nativists to point to census data about foreign born individuals. Is it required by law that we participate in the census? This sounds interesting… I will investigate further.

Some Hispanic advocacy groups are calling for illegal immigrants to boycott the 2010 Census unless immigration laws are changed. The move puts them at odds with leading immigrant rights advocates and creates another hurdle in the Census Bureau’s quest to count everyone in the USA.

The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, a group that says it represents 20,000 evangelical churches in 34 states, issued a statement this week urging undocumented immigrants not to fill out Census forms unless Congress passes “genuine immigration reform.”

Similar grass-roots campaigns are unfolding in Arizona and New Mexico to protest state and local crackdowns on illegal immigrants. Asking immigrants to be counted without giving them a chance to become legal residents counters church teachings, says the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the Latino religious coalition.

When the Census counts growing numbers of Hispanics, the counts are often used to support crackdowns on illegal immigrants, he says. About 38% of the churches’ 3.4 million members are undocumented, he says. The Census Bureau does not ask people if they are here illegally.

Federal funding and apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are based on a Census of the population every 10 years. Not counting the estimated 12 million immigrants who are here illegally would send less money to states and cities that have large numbers of undocumented residents and could shift political clout elsewhere.

“We know it will hurt a lot of cities,” Rivera says.

That’s the bargaining chip boycott supporters are using to lobby lawmakers to issue temporary work visas for undocumented workers and give them a way to become citizens.

The call for a boycott “may be well-intended but misguided and ultimately irresponsible,” says Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and a member of a Census advisory panel.

“There is a sense of desperation and frustration among some immigrant rights leaders” that Congress has not taken action on such issues, Vargas says. They should give the new administration a chance, he says.

That is not allaying concerns in states that have imposed sanctions on employers who hire illegal immigrants or in cities and counties that have given police the power to enforce immigration laws.

In Phoenix, immigrant advocates such as Alfredo Gutierrez, host of a daily radio program on a Spanish station, threaten a Census boycott to protest crackdowns on illegal immigrants.

In Roswell, N.M., businessman Bobby Villegas launched a campaign in February to get undocumented workers to boycott the Census. He’s doing it as the city nears 50,000 population, a mark that would give it the government designation as a metropolitan area, which puts cities on the map for national marketers and retailers.

“Are we going to bring more money in the community so that they can hire more police officers who then will go out after more undocumented?” Villegas asks.

The Roswell Hispano Chamber of Commerce he helped found voiced support for the Census, but “it’s going to be very hard to reach these individuals and say, ‘Trust me,’ ” says Juan Oropesa, executive director.

Nationally, efforts to have the Census reach Hispanics get backing from major Spanish-speaking media and organizations. For the first time, the Census will send forms in English and Spanish to about 13 million households in areas that have a high concentration of Hispanics.

70 Thoughts to “USA Today: Hispanic groups call for Census boycott”

  1. Shelly, I see what you are saying. I just think it will be hard to manage the discussion because all the “I hate Katheriners” will be out there thwarting meaningful dialog.

    That said, I do think it’s important to look at BOCS meeting history and listen to the rhetoric being spewed out in front of cameras. And I think it’s important to look once again at the words used in HSM meetings. Those, too, are public forums.

  2. BTW, thank you WHWN for your post. I forgot to do that earlier because I was addressing Food for Thought more than anyone else.

  3. ShellyB

    Pinko, I salute you for not running away and hiding. You made some mistakes maybe with word choice, but you did it with your own name. That takes courage. That is why you and AWC are my heroes. Greg Letiecq also posts as himself. But imagine if he were nominated for a committee. I wonder if Corey Stewart would go back to his previous stance that things written on blogs shouldn’t matter! Hahahahahahahah! Now that would be something to see. I hope one of the Supervisors nominates him. Hahahahahahah!

  4. Honestly, I used words that got people all upset, but I EXPLAINED why I used them. I know that doesn’t do any good once people set their minds against you, however. So some of this I will chalk up to, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    As for GL, he never had to get on a committee. He and Duecaster pushed their policy through with no problem, with Stirrup and Stewart cheering from the sidelines–because that is what it was, really. For a time, they allowed these two men and a few of their friends to literally run our county.

    I also have respect for AWC. I think (she?) is a smart person. We’re both rather annoying at times, but hey…that’s not a bad thing 🙂

  5. Moon-howler

    Perhaps ‘persistant’ is a better adjective there, Pinko. Or perhaps tenacious.

  6. Did you mean as opposed to annoying, MH?

    But I do SO love “tenacious.” 🙂

    A friend called me tonight.

    She asked if she was talking to the world’s most famous reject.

    I laughed by BUTT off!!!

  7. ShellyB

    Well. It’s like George Allen. He said the “macaca” thing and once he said it, it didn’t matter how much he tried to explain. It’s politics. Meaning it doesn’t matter what is true. It only matters what you can make people THINK is true.

    The really odd thing is that these committee nominations are just barely kind of politics. It’s like children dressing up and PLAYING politics. There was nothing at stake other than whether these 10 people who hate Katherine got their way. I’m not sure if I buy WHWN’s analysis though. I think the Board Members are mostly clueless to this political dress-up game. But based on Stewart and Stirrup’s flip-flops, it’s clear to me that the only political thing going on here is whether Stirrup and Stewart (and the Board to some extent) admits they made a mistake in paying umpteen million dollars for the Letiecq/Duecaster Immigration Crackdown. If Duecaster had gone down, it would have meant they admit their mistake. If Katherine had been approved, it would have meant they, well, I don’t know what.

    But the fact that it was decided by Stewart and Stirrup that Duecaster’s blogging is okay but Katherine’s is not tells me this is all about CYA: Cover Your Ass on the Immigration Resolution.

  8. Well, it also says something about cronyism and the way the county does business.

    And it goes back to my assertion that there are no criteria for appointing citizens to committees. That application is a joke. (Mr. Covington brought my resume in with him, which makes more sense.)

    We already went through this with the discussion on conflict of interest and the inability of committee members to remain objective for the good of the county.

    Shelly, you might be right that committees are political microcosms. I hadn’t thought of them in that way. Honestly, I figured I would be sitting there listening and learning for the most part….and then move on to making brochures!

  9. Rebecca

    One of the most disturbing aspects of this entire discussion is the back-peddling and lying about who said what amongst the dark circles.

    Dr. D sure casts himself in a new light. However, some of us know the truth and will hold on to that truth.

  10. Witness Too

    I don’t agree that these committees are insignificant. This is supposed to be a representative government. The decisions of individual Supervisors reflect on an entire district, and the decisions of the BOCS reflect on the entire county.

    When Duecaster was appointed, I told myself, “Well the county deserves to be known for close associations with an insensitive and angry, anti-immigrant people, because we do have Stirrup on the board.” Duecaster wrote the Resolution, and Stirrup introduced it. Everyone already knew that.

    The only comfort was that we could all hide behind the principle that it is a the right of each Supervisor to appoint whom they choose. Now we’ve lost that shield. So that means that the extreme views held by Robert Duecaster really do reflect on the BOCS and on Prince William County.

    I’m afraid that as long as Corey Stewart leads this board, this is the reputation we will have and the reputation we will deserve to have.

  11. ceese

    People don’t realize funds are given to communities according to the population for schools, and other vital parts of the community. So if a group boycots then it gives a false number that leads to less funds and then the entire community pays the price. I feel if a group won’t stand and be counted causing less funds for that community perhaps then they should also be restricted from any form of bennefit and financial aid that would come from the cencus. Why should they be able to take advantage leaving others out because they choose to rape the system by not being counted.

  12. TWINAD

    Witness Too,

    Well stated! Nothing to add.

  13. “Well. It’s like George Allen. He said the “macaca” thing and once he said it, it didn’t matter how much he tried to explain.”

    But that was a racist statement made by a politician, a public figure and official.

    I am neither of those things. I’m just some person with a big mouth!

  14. Emma

    I don’t intend this in the spirit of “I told you so,” so please try to take my words for what they are, Pinko, and not try to read any other intent into them. I grant you that it would be naive to assume that there wasn’t some element of political payback in what happened to you. But you have to admit, the door was opened to this sort of scrutiny with Mr. Duecaster’s appointment, wasn’t it? Posters here were scrambling to find quotes everywhere they could and post them here and on the petition that was sent to the Board. You had to know that that would be used against someone here at the earliest opportunity. The precedent was set here, and unfortunately you became the first available target.

    It’s clear that nationwide and worldwide economic conditions have affected PWC severely. Thanks to the large number of jobs in this area, especially due to the presence of so many federal jobs here, PWC was riding higher on the real-estate bubble than a lot of other areas in the country, so the county fell hard.

    So many people are so determined to ascribe these conditions to the “bad reputation” of PWC due to the Resolution, and the supposed fear that that resolution caused. That seems to be such a constant drumbeat among many posters here–my sense is that they actually WANT that to be true just to prove their point. I guess if you say it enough times, you’ll keep the immigrants away, and then you can be right. But then how could you then expect to turn around and sell PWC to visitors? The obvious question–when I try to stand back and look at this objectively–is, why would you WANT to?

  15. Emma, thank you for putting that respectfully. I do appreciate that.

    I am not surprised people did the same thing with my appointment than I did with Duecaster’s. In fact, I expected it from certain people. Other people on the BOCS, I did not expect it from, and this has lowered my opinion of them because they sided with those who don’t respect free speech.

    The issue here, to me, is the position Duecaster was appointed to was one that would affect how this county serves the disadvantaged. The disadvantaged is made up of many immigrants and what Duecaster refers to as “anchor babies.” How can he possibly be objective on a committee like that? I have a real problem with conflicts of interest which is why I turned down a previous offer to work on a land use committee.

    I would think that my coming out and saying, “Hey…here’s what the county has to offer outside the immigration debate” would be a good thing. I have a lot to offer in terms of promoting parks and history. I’ve studied the history, not as historian but as a curious citizen, the way a tourist would.

    And no matter what we think of the resolution, getting more revenue into the county via tourism cannot possibly be a bad thing, can it? Outside of that, I’m not representing the county as a member of a visitor’s bureau. And I am certainly not setting policy, as Duecaster has.

    The point is, Duecaster is a community leader, a policy setter and now a public official and a politician of sorts. He was defended by Stewart and Stirrup based on the argument that he has freedom of speech. He was allowed to call immigrants and citizens all kinds of vile names in public meetings and official forums. The only thing the board can hold against me is my blog, which was visited by how many people? What, like four hecklers and three friends? Compare that to the traffic on BVBL.

    And consider once more that there is little criteria for selecting appointees. The system itself is corrupt.

    If this is the way the county works, I’m not disappointed that I wasn’t voted onto a VOLUNTEER committee.

    I am not happy that this county doesn’t consistently respect freedom of speech or civic engagement. The BOCS picks and chooses based on preconceived notions and prejudices. That much is apparent.

    I really don’t have much more to say on this issue because it’s TRULY not about me. It’s about the way this county operates, the way it addresses free speech and the way it tries to discourage civic engagement. My public addresses to the BOCS show that.

    Recall I was the one back in 2007 who said at a BOCS meeting, “You have betrayed democracy.”

    It never WAS about me.

  16. ShellyB

    This is the best conversation about our county government I have seen on this blog or anywhere. I don’t know what to say. Great posts Emma, Pink, and Witness. Thank you.
    I had been wishing this whole embarrassment would go away. But given our process of government is as diseased as it is, the Board has done us a favor in revealing it.

    I didn’t mean to say it was insignificant though, Witness. Katherine’s nomination was a small matter, but it exposed a very big and very serious problem. Our county government is infected, and it seems like this thread is the only place where we are admitting the truth. Is anyone dealing with this problem in real life out in the open?

    I feel sad and nervous. But mostly sad about what has happened to our community.

  17. “Is anyone dealing with this problem in real life out in the open?”

    Yes. The media.

  18. Anesthesia

    This whole episode was a ludicrous act of middle school retaliation. Once again, the majority of the BOCS should be ashamed of itself.

  19. ShellyB

    I think the BOCS should be ashamed, just like we all should be ashamed. But if you look at each individual vote, Corey Stewart and John Stirrup are the only ones who TRULY BELONG to Greg Leteicq and Robert Duecaster. The others all voted consistently. Only in Stewart and Stirrup’s mind do men who shake with rage and hatred for non-white people “represent” this county well, but people who have the courage to oppose such men cannot “represent” this county because in the process they criticize Stewart and Stirrup too.

    Shameful is too soft of a word.

  20. Why is it, Shelly, that you are unable to post an opinion without personally attacking someone, particularly those four…who really have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the subject of this thread?!

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