We ALL Count!
Stand up. Be counted. It's safe. It's our right.
Thanks to everyone who supported the letter to President Obama and DHS Secretary Napolitano, asking that they suspend enforcement activities to encourage immigrant participation in Census 2010. With Census Day less than a week away, on April 1, there has been no commitment from the Administration to take any such steps.
The message from the DHS has been that they will "not interfere" with the Census, but there has been no mention of suspending enforcement actions as during the past two census counts in 2000 and 1990. Instead, a statement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) states that the agency "fully supports an accurate count of the U.S. population" and would prioritize enforcing laws "on those dangerous criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities..." The NNIRR letter to suspend enforcement for the 2010 Census, signed by more than 200 organizations, identified numerous programs that supposedly target "criminal aliens" and which have been responsible for the round-up, arrest and deportations of hundreds of thousands of immigrant men, women and children on immigration violations.
In the meantime, we encourage all of you to help mobilize immigrant community participation in the Census. Again, April 1 is national Census Day and is the target date for the return of census surveys, which most households received this past week. If households do not return their census surveys, they will receive a follow-up visit from a census outreach worker. For immigrant households concerned about such visits, they should return their forms now.
In a final effort to boost mail-back rates in hard-to-count communities, the Census Bureau has just announced its "March to the Mailbox" campaign on April 10. Households will be reminded to "march to the mailbox" to return their census forms before personal visits to unresponsive households start on May 1.
There are many ways for people to get assistance in completing their forms; many community organizations are working with the census initiative, have received briefings and trainings. There are census assistance centers now open in many neighborhoods throughout the country. There are toll free lines to call to receive copies of the census in one of eight languages, or to speak to someone in one of more than 80 languages for assistance.
Here are some links to information sheets and resources that NNIRR thinks are helpful. These can also be accessed from our website at www.nnirr.org: