The Census season of 2010 is nearing and certain articles in the Latino newspapers in the country are calling for the Latino community to hide and not be counted. The warning is set against the possible raids that could ensue and deportations of undocumented persons. The premise is that if Latinos do not cooperate they can use this action to leverage for immigation reform.
To begin with, the Census agency is mandated by Title 13 of the United States Code, which provides protection to all persons living in the United States.
Protections of Title 13:
- Information is private and never published.
- The gathering of data is only for statistical purposes, it cannot be used against the person by any agency of the government or the court of law.
- An oath is taken for life to protect the confidentiality of the persons interviewed.
- To violate this is a serious crime. If someone violates this law, it is a federal crime, punishable severely for either 5 years in prison or a fine of $250,000 or both.
Avoiding participating in the Census is not the way to promote immigration reform. In order to obtain an immigration reform, we have to fight off civil disobedience and public polarization and make it understood that undocumented people are willing to cooperate in a system of government.
It is easy to call people to rebel and demand rights. But to obtain those rights one has to earn them, and one way of doing so is to cooperate in a civic action that will help everyone.