Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 2010 Census: The State's Secret Weapon?

In a development possibly related to the rumor of the Democrats mulling mandatory universal voter registration as a last-ditch effort to save themselves from a gathering storm of angry voters, the U.S. government is spending $340 million (apparently the 300 million Americans plus approximately forty million illegal immigrants) on a propaganda campaign to soft-sell the insidious 2010 census entitled "Portrait of America."

From People's World:

The Obama administration launched an unprecedented $340 million promotional blitz for the 2010 Census Monday with the debut of the Census Portrait of America Road Tour in New York City's Times Square.

The tour includes a 46-foot trailer and 12 smaller cargo vans with 14-foot trailers that will crisscross more than 150,000 miles nationwide through April to promote the importance of getting people to respond to the 10-question Census.

The caravan plans to visit more than 800 events including parades and festivals such as New Orleans Mardi Gras and San Francisco's Chinese New Year celebration. National sporting events such as the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 and the NCAA Final Four are included.

The promotional blitz will also feature:

- $140 million for TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising, including $2.5 million for two ads in the Feb. 7 Super Bowl pregame show and a 30-second spot during the game.

- Roughly $80 million for ads directed at racial and ethnic groups and non-English speakers, in 28 languages. The bulk of it will reach out to Latinos, African Americans, Asians and American Indians. Some ads will also be in Arabic, Yiddish and other languages.

This year the government is making an extra effort to count those who have traditionally been hard to count: racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants and the poor.

Leading civil rights groups such as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League and the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation have joined together to promote the Census in a national campaign called Count on Change 2010.

The 2000 Census overlooked 1 million people of color, including more than 600,000 African Americans, civil rights leaders say. The distribution of federal funds to state, county and municipal governments and the distribution of political power at every level of government depend on the Census, they add.

Count on Change 2010 aims to increase the final Census response rate by 10 percent, resulting in an additional $633,000,000 in federal and state funding to hard-to-count areas in the Black and Latino communities.

Civil rights leaders want to make sure the 2010 Census does not undercount the segments of Black and Latino communities that were missed in 2000 - the poor, the mobile, and children. And new groups are now at risk of exclusion, including those disproportionately impacted by the mortgage foreclosure crisis and the hundreds of thousands displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, they point out.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, said the government's over $300 million blitz aimed at getting "hard-to-count" groups to respond to the census may not be enough.

Morial and Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP, are also urging the government to count prison inmates from their hometowns, not where they are incarcerated. Morial notes that with nearly 1.5 million African Americans in prison out of a total Black population of about 40 million, there is a built-in "undercount."

The Obama administration and civil rights leaders are encouraging every household to participate in the census-taking process so that disenfranchised communities can be empowered in the coming period.

Fearing that millions of undocumented Latino immigrants may not be counted, Latino leaders are mobilizing a nationwide drive to urge the Latino community to participate.

Nearly 1 million Latinos were undercounted in the 2000 Census, civil rights leaders contend. Not only does an inaccurate census affect the distribution of federal dollars, it also impacts the drawing of congressional districts, they note. They add if undocumented immigrants, an estimated 8 million of whom are Latino, are not included, the undercount could be much greater.

According to a recent study by NDN, a Democratic advocacy group, and America's Voice, an immigrant advocacy group, congressional delegations in eight states with large Latino populations could grow if all Latinos - the nation's largest minority sector at some 47 million - are counted.

Six states that would gain a congressional seat include Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina and Utah. Arizona would get two and Texas up to four.

However obstacles to counting undocumented immigrants who may be reluctant to provide their names, birthdates and phone numbers are looming especially since the 2010 Census comes three years into an immigration crackdown started by President George W. Bush. The raids and deportations continue, though less visibly, under President Obama, critics charge.

Last month, the Senate rejected a measure by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., that would have included only U.S. citizens in the official tally. The Constitution calls for all residents to be counted.

Latino leaders hope to attract full participation in the Census as a continuation of the immigrant rights activism that swept the nation beginning in 2006, when millions of Latinos and supporters marched for immigrant rights nationwide. The actions led to nationwide campaigns to naturalize immigrants followed by a mass voter registration drive.

"We want to tap into that same spirit," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, a bipartisan group and census drive organizer.

Speaking to the New York Times Vargas added, "We have to go back to everybody and say, ‘Just as you marched, just as you naturalized, just as you voted, now you have to be counted.'"

Nearly 12 million Latinos voted in November 2008, an increase of 2 million over 2004, according to NDN.

Latinos as well as African American and other minority groups hope to extend their voting power with a Census count that increases more electoral representation in their communities.

They also want the Census Bureau to recruit more people of color as managers and employees so that those that are familiar with such communities are the ones calling the shots.

The 2010 Census, with state and local data on age, race and ethnicity, household size and composition, helps communities with projections for school enrollment, housing, transportation and health care. Information from the Census is used to prepare for emergency services, research and changes and to advocate for various causes.

Billions of dollars are at stake every year, in federal funds that go to states and localities to build schools, hospitals, highways and fund programs such as Medicaid.

Filling out a census form is mandatory by law.

Univision, Telemundo, Google and Best Buy have joined the effort to promote the Census.

Photo: www.mn2010census.org/employment.html


Nora said...

Grrr. Do you know what we absolutely HAVE to tell them? And what's the penalty with being creative with your info?

Reasonsjester said...

I don't know, I will lie to them for sure. Civil disobedience is justified, penalty or no penalty.

Anonymous said...

You are such a rebel; lying to census workers, hee, hee, are you beavis or butthead?

Reasonsjester said...

You read this blog regularly and that is all you can say? Why don't you ever make an argument instead of pretending to be witty? What is your counter-argument, we should allow the welfare state to expand its base by about 20% by incorporating illegal immigrants? In case you are too intellectually lazy to notice, this sort of thing is unsustainable and is specifically designed to collapse the U.S. economy. And if you are an outright socialist, name me a single example of a non-draconian socialist state, and on top of that, one that didn't pave the way to massive poverty and misery? If you start naming European countries, I am going to laugh, because the capitalist United States essentially pays their defense budgets, holding back Russia and waging a war against global jihadists (but of course, we are the bad guys). Make an argument, and stop acting like the homeless guy outside my building who I have to give a quarter to as I walk by him each day.

Anonymous said...

What is your proof that the extra workers counted will be illegal? I think that you simply try to find fault with everything.

Nora said...

~ What is your proof that the extra workers counted will be illegal? I think that you simply try to find fault with everything.~
ROFLMAO! THAT is the response to your eloquence and arguments?!?

Anonymous said...

WELL WHAT IS THE PROOF, NORA? AND DON'T GIVE ME ANOTHER SELF-REFERENCING BLOG; GIVE ME SOME SOLID EVIDENCE FROM AN UNBIASED SOURCE. As far as eloquence goes, it is not hard to kick out 1-2 pages typed; I did it all the time in undergrad; The main topics which interest me would never be interesting to you or the man otherwise known as reasonjester; My current book I am studying is "The Design of Everyday Things" by Norman. It is definitely not something Levinites would find fascinating.

Nora said...

Okay Mr. Mouse,
Here's my 'proof'; as I live and work in SoCal, I can tell you that if I go to ANY hospital or school in certain areas ALL of the patients are illiterate, uneducated Mexicans who have no ID or insurance and don't understand English. They are treated anyway. That is why so many hospitals in LA are closing. I have a friend who delivers babies in a hospital, she says that most of her patients are women who don't speak or understand English and they all seem to pass around the same Social Security card as ID. Their babies are delivered, they are treated and released. The hospital is going under. I work as a Spanish language liaison in a high school in the ghetto; half of the students are black and half are Mexican. We give the students free breakfast and lunch, the nurse administers free vaccines, and we offer the parents free services like free English lessons that NONE of them will attend. We had to axe science labs due to lack of funds but the district gave MORE money to grow the Latino PTA! I should know, that was my department. These people may be good people but the reality is that they are straining the budget. It's that simple. If you are working class, working poor, in this state, you will not get the help that you will get if you are here illegally. It's fucked and it's the truth.
I may not be an 'unbiased' source but I live with the reality you don't seem to be aware of. Your turn!

Nora said...

Mr. Mouse,
Waiting for your brilliant rebuttal. You hiding?