Could a Census Boycott Help Immigrants?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chairman of the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders Reverend Miguel Rivera explains why his organization discourages undocumented immigrants from participating in the Census.


Reverend Miguel Rivera

Comments [18]

Matt from Brooklyn (census office NW 2226)

I quit working for the census after 1 day,and when I mentioned returning their materials (a cardboard box and some blank paperwork forms) they told me that I had to return it to them on Fulton Street. I told them I would return it to the work site or they could send someone to my home to pick the stuff up.

Then they told me they would call the "Federal Police" and have me arrested if I didn't return it personally to their main office.

I'm never going to fill out a census again, and would HIGHLY advise any immigrants or people with unregistered tenants NOT to fill out a census either....the Feds might just kick your door in, despite the "assurances" of the "good people' down at the Census office.

Mar. 23 2010 09:33 AM
Go Home

I'm listening to the podcast and I want to make a few points. The "20,000 evangelical ministers in 34 states" are only interested in shoring up their own base.

Illegal immigrants have NO RIGHT to demand anything. You snuck into this country or over-stayed a visa and are upset that, what is it again?, you're upset that the government is not moving quickly enough for your tastes in instituting "immigration reform."

Here's a bit of advice from a very liberal guy; if you're so terribly dissatisfied with America, then GO HOME!

I would like to see stepped up deportations, stiffer penalties for repeat immigration violators (a lifetime ban sounds about right) and an acknowledgement that the same cartels (Mexican and Chinese) that are smuggling in people also are smuggling in drugs.

The pastor seems to be coming out in favor of human smuggling.

Mar. 23 2010 03:26 AM
Stefan from New Jersey

Hi, Brian,
I think your guest is far from what is right.
As an undocumented one I strongly believe I should to do my part in CENSUS 2010.
Reason is simple: if we want to have a chance to be legalized we got to do right things. As we claim we love this country let's start to act for the country not against it.I do not want my community to loose a congressman, or educational funds, or any benefits American people deserve. And by the way the census is a duty for any citizen or for any "wannabe citizen". We already have broken immigration law, so don't brake others and right now it is time to show we can be role model citizens. Otherwise we cannot be surprised that Americans don't want us to stay. Who wants "the boycott guys" in own country? So do your job, send back census form and be law loving guy tomorrow (don't even cross the street on red light!)

Mar. 20 2010 10:51 PM
Lost Sam Antic

Yes, I must agree with Johnny, No. 1.

Let's just call them Legal Immigrants Not.

Mar. 19 2010 08:46 PM

This guy is so misguided. I hope his congregation does not listen to his advice about the Census.

Mar. 19 2010 04:25 PM

I still don't understand WHO this boycott is supposed to be pressuring.

That has to be the most confusing segment I've heard in a while. The Reverend was unable to make a coherent or logical argument for a boycott, to explain in any way how this would help undocumented immigrants. Perhaps it's not the messenger. Perhaps there just isn't a logical argument to be made...

Which is why he is resorting to scare tactics (Japanese internment, anyone?) instead.

Mar. 19 2010 11:16 AM
Estela from White Plains, NY

All people must fill out the census and mailed to the Goventment. Even it these people don't have legal status in this Country, they having children, those children are american citizents,they needed to be counted to provide thier communities with the sources for the future. And a lot of these people using i this case NYS child benefits, if they don send the info, the agencies are short in financial sources to provide services.


Mar. 19 2010 11:12 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#7, there was an interview on The Daily Show last night and the Secretary in charge of the Census basically said half of the questions on the Census are redundant in order to catch any flaws made filling out the document. So, since we’re talking about immigrants, it’s pretty easy to confuse an European “1” with an American “7” or some peoples “4s” for “9s” etc.

Mar. 19 2010 11:09 AM
Greenpoint from Brooklyn

I work for the Census and your guest is wrong.

People with status issues SHOULD fill out the census. They have stressed to us workers that the information is confidential and cannot be shared w/ person or gov't agency, federal, state, local, no police. We take great care to protect the identity and personal information of anyone we encounter. It's illegal to share it.
For people concerned about this still, they can write John Doe or Jane Doe on their forms. And they can also go into a Census QAC center in their neighborhood and fill out a form without the bar code on it, also using John Doe. There is no way that the gov't can find out who you are then.
But it is very important that everyone is counted....especially if they value schools, hospitals, a fire department close by, subways and buses that serve their area, roads that are repaired, police protection, soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, etc.....I have seen in my census work the result on the community of low responding areas......the difference between those neighborhoods and higher responding ones is striking.

To JP, I don't think that there are any other legal ramifications, but we may lose a congressman, and if you don't answer, you will not be able to complain about crappy services in your community....this will impact our area for over 10 years.

Mar. 19 2010 11:07 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

#1, if someone has illegally immigrated to a country, they are an illegal immigrant. It has nothing to do with denying someone’s humanity, it has to do with their legal status of immigration. Now, if illegal immigrants were considered 3/5 human for purposes of representation and taxation, maybe I’d buy your hyperbole, but they are not. Besides, to the Founding Fathers (since we’re splitting hairs here) the only people who had the right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and any other rights were Western European property-owning men. Not all men and certainly not all people.
Not only have illegal immigrants illegally crossed the border of the sovereign nation of the United States of America, they are undocumented precisely because they have chosen to immigrated illegally.

Mar. 19 2010 11:05 AM
Suzie from Manhattan

As someone who came to this country legally, why is it so hard for me to become a permanent resident when it seems that provisions will be made for undocumented workers to legalize their status?
That doesn't seem fair.
Somewhat on topic though: I don't know why people think that immigrants don't pay taxes or that we have access to everything Americans do. This is NOT true. Immigrants make do with the little resources available to us. America makes great provisions for its citizens, maybe coming from somewhere where that isn't the case makes us appreciate that.

Mar. 19 2010 11:00 AM
Nick from NYC


I just returned my census. Why do they ask for your phone number and date of birth, if the info is for "statistical purposes only"? Isn't just your age sufficient information for "statistical purposes"?

Mar. 19 2010 10:58 AM
Dano from Kearny NJ

Is it true that this data is not releasedfor 72 years?

Mar. 19 2010 10:58 AM
Zofia from Brooklyn

This seems to me like a completely counterproductive position. So, he doesn’t want immigrants counted, but then continue to use the public resources that are allocated for people who did participate?
Yeh, that makes a lot of sense – way to build good will between citizens and the immigrant community. If this is his attitude, then I am all for stricter immigration laws!

Mar. 19 2010 10:56 AM
FranciL from New York City

A very misguided stand. Refusing to be counted leaves all these people out of the government funding possibilities, PLUS it places more burden on the residents in their community. Rev. Miguel, you should talk to your congresspeople and senators about your concerns - you are leading your sheep astray!!!

Mar. 19 2010 10:55 AM
JP from NJ

I can’t find the answer to this anywhere and I’m actually very serious about this question, even at the risk of sounding like a nut job. I’m not worried about any records, I was born and raised in USA. But I have my own reason for not wanting to fill out the census. As a US citizen, I know I can be fined no more then $100 for refusing to answer the census (US code Title 13, section 221). What other legal ramifications against me are there?

Mar. 19 2010 10:54 AM
JP from NJ

I was born and raised in the USA. But I have my own reason for not wanting to fill out the census. As a US citizen, I know I can be fined no more then $100 for refusing to answer the census (US code Title 13, section 221). What other possible legal ramifications could there be against me?

Mar. 19 2010 10:47 AM
Johnny from Queens, Elmhurst, NY

Brian, Brian, Brian...

Please, stop using the term illegal immigrant. Do you realize you used it twice in the announcement of your broadcast? An hour before your show even started, when you made an announcement of your upcoming segment you used the term 'illegal immigrant'.

This is when I wonder how much of your white bourgeoisie mind-frame actually rules your thinking. To call anyone illegal is denying their human rights. Even the US Declaration of Independence (which was created by men with major shortcomings) states that all men have to the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; and they even recognized these as unalienable rights. Meaning, not to be taken away because we are born with them by providence. When you call someone illegal, you want to use 'human logic' to take away birth given rights, rights we can only and must acknowledge in order to live in harmony and in sync.

If the 'Founding Fathers', with all of their flaws and all, acknowledged the unalienable rights of ALL men... then why can't you do that when speaking of undocumented citizens... therefore, stop calling them illegal (as if they should have not rights because they are illegal by nature). They are undocumented yet they still have rights because they are human. Stop your white bourgeoisie, so-called liberal yet conservative, speak. Thank you.

Mar. 19 2010 10:15 AM

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