FEBRUARY 02, 2010
Keeping with the Obama Administration’s mission to conduct the most diverse outreach campaign in history, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau is touring Mexican border towns with high illegal immigrant populations to personally assure that those who fill out questionnaires this spring will not be deported.
"This is a safe thing for everyone to do regardless of your immigration status,” the president’s handpicked census director (Robert Groves) told residents of a renowned illegal alien “colonia” in south Texas this week. He visited several dilapidated makeshift homes off of a dirt road in a Laredo neighborhood called San Carlos to stress that census data will be kept confidential and not turned over to immigration authorities.
Even if the president of the United States asks him for their census forms, Groves told the Spanish-speaking crowd, he can refuse because the law says the forms must be kept private. If he violates that sacred law, Groves further informed the attentive illegal immigrants, he can go to prison. Besides, citizenship status is not even asked on the census questionnaire, assured the Texas congressman (Chicano rights activist Henry Cuellar) who accompanied Groves on this particular jaunt.
The census director is also giving illegal immigrants across the country a lesson in basic civics by explaining that hundreds of billions of federal dollars are allocated to state and local governments based on population. Being included in the decennial count will in turn allow them to receive more public benefits; “We want to count you and your family can benefit from the services," Groves is telling illegal aliens.
This marks the latest of many administration efforts to cater to illegal immigrants. A few weeks ago the government launched an unprecedented $133 million advertising campaign—in dozens of languages—to promote the census with the Spanish ads assuring the decennial count is confidential and cannot divulge respondents’ immigration status.
The never-before-seen promotional blitz includes television commercials, print and outdoor ads as well as online advertising. Hundreds of ads have been drafted in 28 languages, including two Chinese dialects, Russian, Arabic and Tagolog. The Spanish advertisements, distributed on national television and print media, are of particular interest because they guarantee the safety of illegal aliens who fill out the census forms.
A few months ago the government announced that, in an effort to reach out to illegal aliens, it is spending $26 million to send Spanish-language questionnaires directly to homes for the first time in history. In past years, participants could request special forms in several languages—including Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese—but the effort marks the first time that the government sends to entire regions census questionnaires in a language other than English.
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