Monday, April 13, 2009

Threat of Census Boycott

The U.S. Census Bureau is gearing up for next year's count and is intent on including the undocumented immigrants. The census form does not contain a question on immigration status. In the 2000 census, nonetheless, many undocumented were often reluctant to participate for fear the information would be shared by the bureau with "la migra". This year some immigrant activists, less concerned about sharing information with ICE, are urging a boycott of the census to protest the hypocrisy of the administration in moving on comprehensive reform. Hispanics had overwhelmingly supported Barack Obama in the last election. After expected reapportionment because of an increased count in the Hispanic community, Democrats expect to crease their power in Congress and in the electoral college. The critics are not trying to be subtle in their blackmail. They are telling the Democratic administration to move now on reform or face a boycott of the census -- and frustration of their hopes of increased power.

That is a controversial strategy. The census count is not only related to reapportionment -- though that's what make the Democrats salivate. Sitting governors, mayors and legislator are more concerned about federal dollars. The amount that flows from Washington to build schools, roads, mass transit and other community services depends on the census count. Consequently, local administrators are cooperating with the census bureau's campaign. So are the churches, unions and community organizations. The Arizona Republic reports on the impact of a census undercount will have on Arizona. Note that one local official will not cooperate and will ply business as usual -- law-and-order Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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