Inclusion Paradox Sightings
It’s one thing for Latinos to be the largest minority in the U.S. and growing fast — it’s another for their numbers to be officially counted. And being counted means greater Federal dollars for those cities and states with these large and growing Latino populations. Every person being counted translates into $1400 in annual program expenditures on everything from construction to educational programs. It also will likely change the contours of congressional districts and the diversity of representatives in Congress.
To this end, cities and states are launching high-stakes campaigns across the country to ensure Latinos get counted in the Census that will take place in April 2010. But big obstacles lie in the way. Language barriers, identifying the right channels to get the message out, and assuring undocumented immigrants they don’t risk arrest due to immigration status will likely lead to the undercount of Latinos.
A significant undercount will mean a great loss for Hispanic communities and the cities that have welcomed them and which have become home for the Latino diaspora in the U.S. For those who want to make sure Latinos say “Presente!”, in the coming months there will be many opportunities to help. For more, see “Hispanics Urged to Make Census Count” (Chicago Tribune, November 4, 2009).
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