The Rev. Miguel Rivera, head of some group called the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders has recently called for a boycott of the 2010 national census by undocumented immigrants. To which everyone should collectively say “So what? Who Cares?” or “Good!” The purpose of the census every ten years, although bastardized to accomodate our welfare state to determine Federal funding formulas, is for the apportionment in the House of Representatives. That is the constitutional purpose of the census in a nutshell- nothing more, nothing less. Considering the fact that illegal immigrants are not supposed to vote anyway, does it make any constitutional difference whether they are accurately counted or not? Of course, there are community organizing groups out there (ACORN) who try their damnest to get around that small fact, so consider “under-counting” by the Census as a check on voter registration fraud.
Conversely, Arturo Vargas of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) says this boycott would be counterproductive and would hurt intended comprehensive immigration reform efforts in the future. He states that although the concerns may be real (Rev. Rivera believes the Census turns over names to ICE), they are essentially spiting themselves by denying federal funds for programs that directly help illegal immigrants. And in a real twist of logic, he says that since the Census Bureau can fine people up to $100 for refusing to participate (rarely enforced), the Rev. Rivera is encouraging illegal immigrants to break the law. I may be missing something here, but didn’t they already “break the law” by sneaking across the border? What is boycotting the census and risking a $100 fine compared to illegal entry into the country in the first place? Is Vargas really that dense or is he a proponent of the use of magic mushrooms or something?
The fact is that whether we have an accurate count of illegal immigrants or not makes no difference to the outcomes of the census and its real purpose. So, I wholly encourage the illegal immigrant community to boycott away and demonstrate in the street. What better way to identify, then act against illegal immigrants? Whether there are the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants or 120 million illegal immigrants in this country is inconsequential to the constitutional purpose of the census.