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Immigrant fear returning census • Brooklyn Paper

Immigrant fear returning census

Canarsie’s large immigrant population — both legal and illegal — are to blame for the neighborhood’s horrible census return rate,which is the lowest in the borough.

Officials say that immigrants haven’t been returning their census forms out of fear of backlash from other government agencies.

To date, only 35 percent of Canarsie residents have returned their Census form.

“They’re not coming out, and they need to be counted,” said Melba Brown, the democratic district leader in the area. “We must allay their fears, so we can get the services in the community that we so desperately need.”

What they don’t understand, says Brown, is that the Census Bureau is prohibited by law from sharing any personal information with any other governmental agencies, including Immigration and Naturalization Services.

The national count has a great affect on how tax dollars are distributed, and how many representatives are sent to Washington to represent a given area.

Residents have until April 15 to return their census forms. Households that have not returned their forms by that date will be visited by Census Bureau enumerators beginning on May 1.

As a whole, Census returns in Brooklyn were at 44 percent, lower than the other four boroughs, compared to a citywide response rate of 58 percent, and a national response rate of 64 percent. Queens, the next lowest-responding borough, had a response rate of 49 percent as of April 8.

This could have significant consequences for Brooklyn and its individual neighborhoods, which will lose out on funding and may also lose representation during reapportionment as a result of poor returns.

“We’re entering the stretch run and fewer than half of New York City households have returned their census forms,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed earlier in the week, pointing out that “the city loses about $3,000 in federal aid every year,” for each resident who is not counted.

Anyone who has not received a census can request one by calleing (866) 872-6868 to request one.

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