Ariz. immigrants threaten Census boycott

April 13, 2009 at 3:57 PM

PHOENIX, April 13 (UPI) -- Arizona officials say illegal immigrants who boycott the U.S. Census would only be hurting themselves because it would mean fewer federal resources for them.

Even as Census Bureau officials have opened a public relations campaign to build trust with undocumented residents, immigrant advocates are threatening to boycott the Census as a protest against stepped-up law enforcement crackdowns, The Arizona Republic reported Monday.

Such a boycott could deny Arizona's financially hurting cities and towns much-needed federal tax dollars, which are doled out based on population, officials fear.

Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski warns against a census boycott, saying, "I believe it would have a huge impact, but the huge impact would be on the immigrant community."

"I know that people are afraid of the different raids we are having in the state, especially in Maricopa County, but we can assure them that this information (will be) perfectly safe," Vianey Celestino, an Arizona spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, told the Republic.

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