Immigrant Rights Groups Blast Census Plan

Activists say it's unconstitutional, but some say it's needed

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    A proposed amendment to the funding bill for the 2010 census has local Latino rights activists ready to boycott.

    A plan that would require the U.S. Census to ask people whether they are in the country illegally has sparked protest from local Latino rights activists.

    The North County Times reports that the plan is contained in an amendment to a funding bill for the 2010 census. It was proposed by Senators David Vitter, R-La., and Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and could be taken up by the Senate as soon as next week.

    Civil and immigrant rights groups said the amendment violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that all people be counted for the purpose of reapportionment.

    Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Solana Beach, said he supports the proposal.

    "Historically, we've asked about citizenship on the long form of the census questionnaire," Bilbray told the paper. "There's no reason we can't be asking in the short form."

    The census is taken every 10 years and counts every person living in the country, but it has never asked whether a person is in the country legally or not.

    Vitter has said that undocumented immigrants living in the country distort political districts in favor of states with large immigrant populations, such as California, according to the paper.

    Immigrant and civil rights advocates say the measure is a ploy to scare immigrants from participating in the census and some immigrant rights groups might call on Latinos to boycott the 2010 census.