Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Organizations Work to Encourage Latino Participation in 2010 Census

Today, a coalition of national Latino organizations will launch a media campaign and direct outreach effort aimed at encouraging Hispanics to participate in the upcoming Census. The focus of the “Ya Es Hora. Hagase Contar!” effort will be the so-called “hard to reach” Latinos which includes migrant workers and those who are in the country illegally.

Since the 2000 Census, officials estimate that the US Hispanic population has grown by 33% to an estimated 47 million. However, Hispanics have proven to be one of the more difficult populations to count accurately. Besides immigration status and language barriers, the foreclosure crisis has hit the Latino community particularly hard, adding to the challenges of being able to record the actual number of Hispanic households.

According to Arturo Vargas, the executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) which is the lead group organizing the Census participation effort, all of these barriers are “adding up to a perfect storm when it comes to the census on Latinos.” NALEO has partnered with Univision television in its outreach campaign in order to utilize Spanish language media.

“People will be hearing about the census on their way to work, at church and at union meetings,” said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents janitorial, health-care and food-service workers. “We are going to get the word out until people are sick and tired of hearing about the census,” Mr. Medina said.

The organizers of “Hagase Contar” also hope to counter an earlier push by a group of Hispanic evangelical ministers who were urging Latino immigrants to boycott the 2010 Census. Originally arguing that Latinos should not participate in the Census until comprehensive immigration legislation was passed, one of the group’s spokesman argues that participation in the 2000 Census is what fueled anti-immigrant sentiments.

The message of the those who want to see a full participation in the Census is that “confidentiality is the law” when it comes to completing the Census form. Figures from the decennial Census are used to allocate billions of dollars in federal money to services ranging from roads to hospitals.

The Wall Street Journal