Census Director and Congressman Cuellar Tour Border Colonias for 2010 Census
Community and Colonias Tour Raises Awareness for Upcoming Census
Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), U.S. Census Director Dr. Robert M. Groves and Dallas Census Regional Director Gabriel Sanchez today visited the Border Colonias outside of Laredo, Texas, as part of a national campaign to raise awareness for the 2010 Census this spring. Congressman Cuellar and Director Groves will work together to monitor how the border region participates in the national Census this March.Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28), U.S. Census Director Dr. Robert M. Groves and Dallas Census Regional Director Gabriel Sanchez today visited the Border Colonias outside of Laredo, Texas, as part of a national campaign to raise awareness for the 2010 Census this spring. Congressman Cuellar and Director Groves will work together to monitor how the border region participates in the national Census this March.
"The 2010 Census is vitally important to making our communities count, and this local community tour with the U.S. Census Director shows how committed we are to one of the most hard to count areas in the nation," said Congressman Cuellar. "I commend Director Groves for coming down to Laredo on the heels of his Alaska visit last week. From the snow caps in the north to the colonias in the south, all Americans will count this 2010 Census."
Congressman Cuellar and Director Groves kicked off the community tour at the local Laredo 2010 Census office before departing for the Colonias along Highway 359. The Census Director and Congressman Cuellar met in Washington three weeks ago to discuss the importance of outreach efforts along the border. Beginning March 19, the Census Bureau will send daily reports to Congressman Cuellar on the rate of Census questionnaires being returned by mail from the border.
"We appreciate the opportunity Congressman Cuellar is giving us to visit the Colonias on the eve of the 2010 Census. We care deeply about reaching these communities with the message that responding to the Census is easy, important, and most of all entirely safe," said Census Director Dr. Robert M. Groves. "No one's data will be used for anything other than the statistical uses of the Census."
During the 2000 Census, a combination of challenges affected how accurately the Colonias were counted. Language barriers, lack of physical infrastructure such as roads and mailboxes, plus limited formal education throughout these communities posed unique challenges to the Census Bureau. In 2009, Dr. Groves visited the Colonias outside of McAllen, Texas to assess these challenges.
"This is my second visit to the Colonias," said Dr. Groves Monday. "And I am confident that by understanding this population, we can complete an accurate count and ensure the fair distribution of federal resources."
The Census is conducted once every 10 years and gathers important information on the national population. It also helps determine how more than $400 billion in federal funding is distributed to state, local and tribal governments.
"We have to get an accurate count of how many families and children there are in our region to determine how many classrooms we need, plus roads, hospitals and other vitally important infrastructure in Texas," said Congressman Cuellar. "Without an accurate count, we’re making estimates on the resources we need and rely on everyday."
In March 2010, more than 130 million addresses across the nation will receive a Census questionnaire. One of the shortest forms in history, the 2010 Census asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The Census does not ask any questions relating to citizenship status and information provided to the Census is completely confidential.
On Monday, Director Groves, Congressman Cuellar and Mr. Sanchez toured the Colonias and distributed sample Census questionnaires in both Spanish and English to Colonias residents. Local outreach efforts are already underway to hand deliver Census questionnaires throughout the Colonias along Texas’ southern border.
In Webb and other border counties, over 4,000 local jobs have been created for community outreach efforts. These jobs include Census clerks who travel door to door to help citizens complete and return their forms.
"It’s a community-wide campaign," said Congressman Cuellar. "The stakes are too high to wait another decade to get an accurate count. So we’re working together to make this one complete."
Congressman Cuellar is the only Hispanic and Texas Member of Congress to serve on the House Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and he is Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism.
For more information on the 2010 Census, please visit www.cuellar.house.gov or www.2010.census.gov.
Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.