Until recently, downtown Prescott, AZ had two large banners encouraging people to participate in the 2010 Census — one in English and the other in Spanish. However, the Spanish-language banner has been taken down “after at least four dozen citizens and two city council members questioned its appropriateness“:
City of Prescott Executive Assistant Patty Crouse said she also fielded five or 10 calls from people angry about seeing a banner in Spanish near the entrance to the city.
[Council member John] Hanna said he personally didn’t like the sign, either.
“If you’re here in the U.S. and can’t speak English, you need to go home,” Hanna said, especially people who are here illegally. “If you’re counting them…you’re saying you’ll do whatever you can to cater to their needs.” […]
When The Daily Courier asked about why he was concerned about visitors seeing a sign in Spanish, [Council member Steve] Blair explained, “It would seem like we’re a Spanish community rather than an English community,” and most visitors are not Hispanic.
Blair also tried to insist that he wasn’t being racist. “I have nothing against Spanish people,” said Blair, adding that “many of his wife’s family members are Hispanic.”
These lawmakers aren’t doing their city any favors. Data from the Census are used to determine political representation and direct $300 billion in federal funds to state and local governments. When the Daily Courier pointed out to Blair that Prescott “gets $12,000 in federal money over the next decade for every 2010 resident regardless of whether they’re here legally,” the council member said that he didn’t know about that fact. Hanna “said he’d rather see illegal residents leave than get the extra money.”
The right wing has been waging an aggressive campaign to exclude undocumented immigrants from the Census count. But an exclusion of undocumented immigrants could lead to “inaccurate demographic information and result in costly mistakes in infrastructure, education, and healthcare planning.” Businesses “also rely on accurate social, economic and demographic census information so they can make smart investment decisions.”
Prescott City Manager Steve Norwood said that although he took down the $995 Spanish-language sign after just four days (it went up on March 1 and came down on March 5), the city is reaching out to the Latino community on the Census in other ways. (HT: C&L)