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Letter to the Senate Opposing an Amendment by Senator Vitter Regarding Immigration Status and the 2010 Census

October 08, 2009

Dear Senator:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we urge you to oppose an amendment to be offered by Senator Vitter to the Commerce Justice and Science FY10 Appropriations that would require residents to answer a question on immigration status as part of the 2010 Census.

NEA believes that a fair and accurate Census procedure is critical to ensuring equitable distribution of federal education program funds, as well as funding for housing, transportation, health, and public safety.  The Census can only be successful, and resulting decisions about resource distribution can only be fair, if everyone is counted. 

Asking about immigration status is unnecessarily intrusive and will raise concerns among all respondents – both native-born and immigrant – about the confidentiality and privacy of information provided to the government.  This will deter many residents from responding, and result in an inaccurate Census count.

The Vitter amendment would fundamentally undermine the goal of the U.S. Constitution, which is to ensure that we have an accurate portrait of America in every decennial Census.  We urge you to oppose this amendment. 

Sincerely,

Diane Shust
Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody
Manager of Federal Advocacy