Some MacArthur Park workers are convinced to participate and others are afraid; authorities remember they won't ask you about your immigration status

While waiting for the day's work, some day laborers in the MacArthur Park area – a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles – discuss a topic of local interest: the 2020 Census.

Some are convinced to fill out the questionnaire; nevertheless others said not wanting to participate.
Juan, who has worked as a day laborer for 14 years, said he does intend to respond to the authorities' call to be told as he does not believe there will be reprisals.

"I will … I don't have papers, nor my family, only my children are born here but (still) we are going to fill it out," said Juan, who didn't want to provide his last name. "The other times we have signed up all the time."

For his part, José Castillo, who has worked as a day laborer for the past 30 years, said that although he did not understand very well what the count was or what benefits it had, it has been reported in previous Censuses, which are carried out every 10 years

“Last time I signed up because I was renting a bedroom in a house and the owner told me to do it,” he explained. "He said that helped us in the community."

However, he said he understood his colleagues that they are afraid of filling out the form for fear of government reprisals.

"Some are counted but sometimes they don't put their respective name because sometimes you don't have documents," he said.

Meanwhile his partner, who preferred not to provide his name, strongly indicated that he would not participate in this year's Census.

"For what? So that later they have all your information and know where you are? ”Said the 55-year-old man.

It is common to see this reaction from a part of the immigrant working community, which in itself already lives in a constant fear when looking for work and does not have the necessary papers to support their immigration status.

MacArthur Park workers will receive a talk about the Census in early February. / Archive.

The MacArthur Park area is commonly known for having a high number of Hispanic population, led by Central Americans.

The last Census counted 23,768 people in the area where the CARECEN Daycare Center is located.
Jorge Nicolás, the center's coordinator, said he noticed that there is a lot of misinformation among this working force.

"Some receive the information as if it were a show magazine and the classmates do not understand what it is about," he explained.

"What we are doing now is to bring you the direct information to explain what it is (the count) and how it affects (and benefits) the communities."

Nicolás said that there are also many day laborers who are afraid to fill out the Census form because they have not seen it and believe that questions related to their status will come

This is due to President Trump's announcement last year where he asked for a question about citizenship to be included in the questionnaire.

However, the Supreme Court stopped that request and that question will not be included in this year's form.

The census is not related to immigration

Patricia Ramos, spokesperson for the Census, said that within federal law there is a clause that says that the information provided on the Census forms must be confidential.

"It will not be shared with anyone," he said.

Of course, teams across the country are approaching less informed communities and rural areas, such as farmers, construction workers and day laborers, to inform them about the importance of getting counted.

"We must remember that we all make use of basic resources such as roads, clinics, schools and the Census helps them improve or add more," said Ramos.

Informative workshop

To clarify the doubts in the working class of the MacArthur Park area, Nicolás said that an informative workshop of the 2020 Census will be held next Saturday, February 8.

Therefore, counting workers will answer all workers' questions.

The workshop will be from 8:00 a.m., until 10:00 a.m. in the block 629 S. Union Ave. in Los Angeles. For more information, call 1 (213) 483-0136.


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