Wednesday, February 28, 2024

GUEST BLOGGER SERIES: Rev. Sam Rodriguez "Is a Boycott of the 2010 Census a boycott of the Hispanic American Dream?"

Rev  Rodriguez 001

Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings, President Obama reaffirming his commitment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Michael Steele, Republican National Committee Chairman declaring that the Latino vote is critical for the Republican Party to take back the White House all speak to the new reality of Hispanic American prominence on the stage we call the American Experience. Without a doubt, Hispanic Americans stand at the nexus of ethno cultural contextualization and public policy. A Latina on the Supreme Court may very well be followed by a Hispanic in the Oval office.

For that matter, the 2010 Census will quantify the unprecedented growth of the community within the last decade and serve as a facilitative platform for the equipping and enrichment of a culture strategically situated to take the lead from the barrios of New York City and East Los Angeles to the suburbs of Atlanta and Orlando. From Main St. to Wall St and all points in between, Hispanic Americans stand poised to reconfigure the political and economic infrastructure of neighborhoods throughout our land.

Recently, certain Hispanic American leaders launched a campaign to persuade the community to boycott the 2010 Census. The boycott, in the eyes of the proponents, will serve as a leverage mechanism forcing the Obama Administration to expedite the immigration reform agenda. In other words, until there is immigration reform, Hispanics, especially undocumented immigrants, should boycott the constitutionally mandated Government count. The question arises: will a boycott serve or harm the Hispanic and immigrant community?

Dr. Jesse Miranda, Chief Executive Officer of the Nation’s largest Hispanic Christian Organization, The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference believes the boycott will egregiously harm the community. “A full count is critical for the continued economic and political progress of the Latino community.  An undercount of the Latino community will do serious damage to our families and our neighborhoods.  By diminishing the representation of newcomers in our democracy, an undercount will also undermine efforts to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. Encouraging anyone not to participate in the Census is simply wrong,” declared Miranda.

Miranda is not alone. From the National Council of La Raza to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and almost every other major Hispanic Civil Rights, Religious and Immigration Advocacy group repudiates the notion of a boycott.

Gilbert Velez, President of the Hispanic Mega Church Association, finds serious flaws in the strategy. “The United States Constitution requires all residents of the United States, including immigrants, to participate in the decennial Census. Census statistics determine reapportionment and political representation, and are also used for allocating federal funding for many social and economic programs that benefit the Hispanic community, along with other residents. Additionally, Census data are used for the enforcement of civil rights and anti-discrimination laws, including the Voting Rights Act”, explained Velez.

At the end of the day, boycotting the 2010 Census is in essence a boycott of schools, police officers, and much needed community development tools in addition to political empowerment for our communities. Should we boycott our future? Hispanic Americans and even Hispanic undocumented immigrants should rest assured that participating in the Census will empower our communities, engage our potential and enrich our collective dream.

Latinovations thanks Rev. Sam Rodriguez for his contribution. The Wall St. Journal has identified Rev. Samuel Rodriguez as one of America’s 7 most influential Hispanic Leaders, and the only religious leader on the list. Meanwhile the San Francisco Chronicle described Samuel as one of the 6 Leaders of the New Evangelical Leadership. By God’s Grace, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez stands today as America’s most recognized Religious Civil Rights leader.

As one of Newsweek Magazine’s Top 12 People to Look For in 2008, and as the President of America’s Preeminent Latino Christian Organization, Samuel is regarded as the lead spokesperson for the 16 million strong Hispanic American Born Again Christian Community. He has been featured, Profiled and  quoted by the Washington Post, CNN, FOX NEWS, Bill Moyers, Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today, Newsweek, Univision, NY Times, The Wall St. Journal, Boston Globe, Atlanta Constitution, Ministries Today, and others as the Preeminent Leading Voice of Hispanic Born Again Believers in America, Sam lives to Build the Kingdom of God, reconciling a platform of righteousness and justice.