The census form will be published in Spanish and English for the first time, reports the AP. Many communities are counting on resources from Uncle Sam to fund local projects, and federal aid will be based on the 2010 census. Every person counted matters.
As we’ve seen before, both documented and undocumented residents (and other hard-to-reach populations) are wary of the count, and distrustful of the government after seeing immigration raids and deportations. But community outreach groups are doing everything they can to get all residents recognized.
One of those ways is publishing and distributing the census forms in Spanish.
“If the government is reaching out to you in a language you understand, it helps build trust,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. “I think the community has become really sensitive to political developments, and the census is the next step in this movement that we’re seeing of civic engagement in the Latino community.”
The forms will be automatically mailed to households in areas where more than a fifth of the population is reported to speak Spanish as a primary language. Other languages are available upon request. The AP reports,
Latino advocates hope the bilingual forms will help show their strength in numbers to underscore their growing political influence and garner more in federal funds that are determined by population.
But the question remains: will this effort help promote the census to under-served groups, or will distrust of the government by Hispanic residents continue to prevent communities from receiving the resources they need?
Read the full AP article here.