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Corruption Chronicles

Census Multilingual Ad Campaign Assures Illegal Aliens

The U.S. government has launched and 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.

Billed as the most diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history, the never-before-seen promotional blitz will include 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, which will be 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.

One of them calls on Hispanics to "make yourself count" because “your community needs you.” It encourages those who fill out the forms to assure their community that the census is secure because the confidentiality of every person is protected by law. The U.S. Census Spanish-language web site also guarantees that no questions regarding immigration status appear on the forms and that respondents’ identities are kept private and protected by federal law.

The Census Bureau certainly seems to be catering to the nation’s illegal population. A few months ago the government announced that, in an unprecedented 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 the decennial count’s 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.

More than 13 million bilingual (Spanish and English) forms will be distributed to neighborhoods with high concentrations of Latinos. More than one-fourth of them will be mailed in California with the highest concentration going to Los Angeles County. The South Florida city of Miami will also get a substantial amount of bilingual census forms in 2010 and so will Houston Texas and portions of Utah. As is the case with the advertising blitz, U.S. taxpayers will pick up the tab.  


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