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Sunday, August 30, 2009



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Press Contacts: September 1, 2009 Jorge-Mario Cabrera (562) 243-5559Anike Tourse (213) 210-6735 Immigrant Voices Should Ring Loud and ClearEfforts to boycott Census 2010 are ill-advised, unliemty, and demoralizing Los Angeles As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, on April 1, 2010, small towns and large urban centers, large families and persons living alone, the young and the old, blacks and whites, and immigrants and non-immigrants, will participate in the national count of everyone living in the United States. The simple survey takes approximately ten minutes to complete and the personal information provided is protected by federal law. This week, organizations such as the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) and the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) will be launching misguided efforts to try to convince immigrants, especially undocumented families, not to participate in this civic activity that takes place every ten years. The following is a statement by Angelica Salas, Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), a regional immigrant and human rights organization based in Los Angeles: In the next few days, well-intentioned but misguided individuals and organizations will launch efforts to convince immigrant communities to boycott the census. CHIRLA opposes any effort that undermines our community's chance to leave an imprint of our constant presence and contributions, especially during the past decade. No one is served by agreeing not to be counted when what we need is to provide evidence of our vital role in American society. Undocumented immigrants will not reach the ears and hearts of America and our legislators in Congress by hiding deeper in the shadows or sitting on the back of the bus. We know that in politics a person's voice is heard the loudest at the ballot box. Voting is a right protected by our nation's constitution and reserved for U.S. citizens. For residents of the United States who cannot vote, there's an important alternative that is made available every ten years. The Census is a precious opportunity that no one living in the United States of America can afford to miss. The voice of immigrants must ring loud and clear on April 1, 2010 and efforts to convince us otherwise are ill-advised, unliemty, and demoralizing. We all agree the promise of change includes immigration reform and we must continue to pressure the current Administration and Congress to pursue tangible solutions sooner rather than later. Immigrant communities should know that participation in the census is not just about political gains by Democrats or Republicans; our responses to the census translate into medications at the community clinic, dance lessons during summer at the YMCA, additional elementary schools or teachers, a park where none exist, and yes, just and humane immigration reform. One specific way we define our community's contributions and needs is by letting our numbers speak for us. Participation in Census 2010 does not preclude, divert, or disrupt the continuing hard work on behalf of undocumented immigrants. As we enrich our nation's narrative with our voices on census day we continue to work on specific immigration reform legislation that will end silence, exclusion and suffering for all immigrants living in the United States. And that is something we should all count on. ###The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) was formed in 1986 to advance the human and civil rights of immigrants and refugees in Los Angeles, promote harmonious multi-ethnic and multi-racial human relations and through coalition-building, advocacy, community education and organizing, empower immigrants and their allies to build a more just society.

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