Census Officials Concerned as Group Urges Migrant Boycott

As a bargaining chip to encourage federal immigration reform, a religious group is calling on undocumented migrant workers to boycott the upcoming U.S. Census. Officials say such a boycott could hurt many cities.
April 17, 2009, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders, a group that says it represents 20,000 evangelical churches in 34 states, issued a statement this week urging undocumented immigrants not to fill out Census forms unless Congress passes 'genuine immigration reform.'"

"Similar grass-roots campaigns are unfolding in Arizona and New Mexico to protest state and local crackdowns on illegal immigrants. Asking immigrants to be counted without giving them a chance to become legal residents counters church teachings, says the Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the Latino religious coalition."

"When the Census counts growing numbers of Hispanics, the counts are often used to support crackdowns on illegal immigrants, he says. About 38% of the churches' 3.4 million members are undocumented, he says. The Census Bureau does not ask people if they are here illegally."

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Published on Thursday, April 16, 2009 in USA Today
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