Ga. Latino community leaders mobilizing for census

Saturday, June 13, 2009 7:01 AM
Last updated 7:29 AM
  • Follow Latest News

NORCROSS, Ga. – Census workers and Latino community leaders from around Georgia met Friday to discuss ways to encourage Latinos, including illegal immigrants, to participate in next year's census.

The effort, dubbed Georgia Census 2010 Latino Complete Count, aims to organize volunteer teams to do "whatever it takes" to ensure everyone is counted, said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, or GALEO, which is spearheading the initiative.

"I think it is critically important for all communities to make sure everyone in their community is counted," Gonzalez said.

Census results are used to calculate distribution of federal funding and congressional representation. Gonzalez noted that Georgia has grown since the last census and could gain additional U.S. representatives if everyone is counted, giving the state more sway in Congress.

About 20 representatives from faith-based groups, schools, businesses, Spanish-language media and community groups met with census workers Friday.

Getting the Latino population, especially illegal immigrants, to participate presents a particular challenge, said Gerson Vasquez, a census worker.

"Many of them have an inherent distrust of government," he said. "Either they brought it with them from their home countries or they developed it here because of some of the immigration measures that have been passed."

The 10-question census form asks about race and ethnicity. It does not ask about immigration status, or for a Social Security number or other identification, Vasquez said.

The Constitution requires that every person living in the country be counted. Refusing to answer a census inquiry is punishable by a fine of up to $100 under U.S. law. That fine can climb as high as $500 for providing false information.

One group, the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, has called on illegal immigrants to boycott the census unless Congress first passes comprehensive immigration reform. Rev. Miguel Rivera, who heads the coalition, said the group supports a full and accurate census count but wants illegal immigrants to have equal rights before they agree to be counted.

"If they are going to be counted, they need to be legalized first so they have the right to vote so they can hold the elected politicians accountable and benefit from the services provided by the federal money," Rivera said.

He said the boycott also grew out of the feeling that census figures from 2000 were used by law enforcement and anti-immigrant forces to better target undocumented populations.

Several national Latino organizations have criticized the proposed boycott and, like GALEO in Georgia, are mobilizing to make sure the Hispanic community is counted.

"A boycott is an irresponsible way to address the issue of comprehensive immigration reform," Gonzalez said. "Too much is at stake with the census to boycott it as a way to draw attention to immigration reform."

Comments (38) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
GACopperhead
6
Points
GACopperhead 06/13/09 - 07:45 am
0
0
Illegals have no business

Illegals have no business participating in ANYTHING in the US. They participate in identity theft, theft of US government services, and anything that they do is illegal on it's face, because they are here ILLEGALLY! They have caused a decrease in legitimate wages, have helped increase unemployment and crime. Any employer who uses them should lose the ability to get licensing, and permits PERMANENTLY, should be fined prohibitively and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. They are traitors to this country, and betray the American people. All illegals and their illegal progeny should be returned to the country of origin, never to be allowed entrance to this country again.

gunnerhall123
0
Points
gunnerhall123 06/13/09 - 10:09 am
0
0
Rev. Miguel Rivera needs to

Rev. Miguel Rivera needs to brush up on his immigration law. He says that he wants Congress to make them legal so they can vote. Being legal doesn't make you able to vote. Being a citizen does. Two different things. My father is an immigrant. He did it legally. Fought for this country in Vietnam but decided not to become a citizen. He is legal immigrant, makes a great living and pays his taxes but he is not able to vote. This Rev. Miguel Rivera wants these folks who broke the law by jumping a border illegally to now jump in the front of the line to become citizens. No thanks.

Cestlavie
134
Points
Cestlavie 06/13/09 - 10:37 am
0
0
I totally agree with both of

I totally agree with both of you. If any US citizen tried to enter Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, or any other country illegally, they would be arrested and sent on the next boat or plane out of the country. Why do they think that illegal aliens (I refuse to use the undocumented worker moniker) have any right to do anything? They should be DEPORTED, not counted in the nation's census nor registered to vote. What laws are they looking at anyway? This stuff just makes my blood boil!!

Tots
25936
Points
Tots 06/13/09 - 12:31 pm
0
0
And I agree with all of you.

And I agree with all of you. Seems like if your poor and illegal you have more rights than the working citizens.

Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 06/13/09 - 01:46 pm
0
0
Illegals distrust the govt.

Illegals distrust the govt. because of the illegal imigrant measure passed...give me a freaking break. That is the same reason why criminals distrust the police because most police officers are following and enforcing laws while all criminals are trying to due are break and get around the laws. These people are ILLEGAL for a reason and while that does not mean they ae mean spirited or that they aren't hard working or trying to better themselves it also doesn't mean that those who feel they sould be sought and deported are immoral or racist. We have laws for a reason and they are for everyone not just a select few. Ask any legal imigrant their opinion and 99% will say if they aren't here legally, they shouldn't be here. We can't even properly take care of our own needs in this country and therefore, we should not be taxed and forced to take care of the needs of those whom are here illegally and do not pay into the system. Instead of counting them in the census, count them as you send them back to where they are from and properly secure our borders.

jack
10
Points
jack 06/13/09 - 03:13 pm
0
0
AMEN to all the comments

AMEN to all the comments above.

Nammy3
0
Points
Nammy3 06/13/09 - 04:15 pm
0
0
I'm with ya'll!!!!!!

I'm with ya'll!!!!!!

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 05:58 pm
0
0
Me too.

Me too.

DonH
13
Points
DonH 06/13/09 - 06:08 pm
0
0
Our census should NEVER

Our census should NEVER include anyone in our country illegally! I cannot comprehend why our government would want to include illegal aliens. These lawbreakers should be rounded up and removed, not counted!

Nammy3
0
Points
Nammy3 06/13/09 - 06:20 pm
0
0
You got that right, DonH!

You got that right, DonH!

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 06:25 pm
0
0
Include, they want them to

Include, they want them to vote. You watch.

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 06:26 pm
0
0
If they are going to be

If they are going to be included, it needs to be so they can tell ICE where to find them and truck them back home.

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 07:44 pm
0
0
If you don't think illegals

If you don't think illegals are a problem, just ask California.

bailmeout2
0
Points
bailmeout2 06/13/09 - 09:00 pm
0
0
go pick your own fruit KSL

go pick your own fruit KSL and pay $8.00 for a bag o' apples.

Tots
25936
Points
Tots 06/13/09 - 09:40 pm
0
0
With all the lay offs and

With all the lay offs and people out of jobs.Why should KSL pick his own fruit? Thats a job an Amercain could be doing.Just take a look around people.At any government job and look at all the mexicans working.Those are jobs that legal Amercains should be doing.They have someone bid on the jobs under cut firms useing legal workers.Then they sub out the work to firms useing illegal workers.

Tots
25936
Points
Tots 06/13/09 - 09:44 pm
0
0
Sorry the correct word should

Sorry the correct word should have been latinos not mexicans.

bailmeout2
0
Points
bailmeout2 06/13/09 - 09:45 pm
0
0
COULD be doing, but wont and

COULD be doing, but wont and rather live on the welfare.

bailmeout2
0
Points
bailmeout2 06/13/09 - 09:49 pm
0
0
Why don't be bus out the

Why don't be bus out the welfare folks to the fields, construction sites? When I was at MCG I would look out at Gilbert Manor and see all the able bodied men drinkin and sittin on the stoop in the middle of the day. Somehow the race card would be thrown into the mix if we made them work for it. Or some non welfare receiving person would compain their job was taken

Tots
25936
Points
Tots 06/13/09 - 09:54 pm
0
0
I dont care either.I would

I dont care either.I would rather pay more and keep the jobs in America for the legal Americans.Picking fruit doesnt pay very much and its a hot hard job.I've done it when I was younger.They dont even hire the teens to work anymore.They get illegals to do the job.Hard work never hurt anyone.Put kids back to work keep them out of trouble.

canyouhearme
0
Points
canyouhearme 06/13/09 - 10:10 pm
0
0
No problem if they are in

No problem if they are in this country legally--if not, shoot on sight!!! They are breaking the LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Don't people GET THIS?

canyouhearme
0
Points
canyouhearme 06/13/09 - 10:38 pm
0
0
Check their F----ing green

Check their F----ing green cards, ole?

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 10:40 pm
0
0
bail, have you not seen the

bail, have you not seen the reports that the cost of produce would be little affected by the decrease of illegal aliens? By the way, doctors often lose their behinds when investing. They have capital to invest but not enough time to check out what they are being sold.

Tots
25936
Points
Tots 06/13/09 - 10:41 pm
0
0
Fine the people who hire

Fine the people who hire them.

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 10:43 pm
0
0
Send them home. And do away

Send them home. And do away with LBJ's Great Society. Make them work. If the want welfare payments, they can pick the vegetables.

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 10:45 pm
0
0
Limit their offspring. One

Limit their offspring. One and then no more if they wish to remain on the public dole until they can work and the child can be in school or daycare.

aaa
2
Points
aaa 06/13/09 - 11:07 pm
0
0
We must be sensitive to the

We must be sensitive to the needs of the poor and those of color, whether they are legal or illegal. If they live in this country, they have the right to healthcare, welfare, and childcare, just like every other American. They should also have the right to vote. We should give them free education as well. We can pay for it if by raising taxes. No big deal.

KSL
129816
Points
KSL 06/13/09 - 11:22 pm
0
0
LOL at you.

LOL at you.

bailmeout2
0
Points
bailmeout2 06/13/09 - 11:31 pm
0
0
one thing I dont understand

one thing I dont understand is that we are fighting a war overseas for the last 7 years worth trillion dollars in the name of terrorism but we wont protect our own southern border? If you dont want illegals, protect the border. Somehow I think the govt wants illegals otherwise they could easily do it.

Nammy3
0
Points
Nammy3 06/13/09 - 11:32 pm
0
0
What a doofus.....but I'm

What a doofus.....but I'm sure they know this......(11:07)

Back to Top

Top headlines

Many black colleges struggling

Although Paine has struggled with its own failures over the past several years, HBCUs across the nation are dealing with some of the same troubles that are threatening their missions and existence.
Search Augusta jobs