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Latino Political Oppose Rev. Miguel Rivera's Census Boycott

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Clergy and Rev. Miguel Rivera, president of the National Coalition of Latino Christian Leaders, is leading the call for illegal immigrants to boycott the 2010 Census until Congress passes immigration reform.

“Undocumented immigrants have no benefits at all from federal funding,” the Ridgefield Park resident says.

n. RoSebert Menendez, D-Hoboken, supports immigration reform, but he opposes the boycott.

“Any group that boycotts the census is subjecting their community and their children and grandchildren to having a diminished voice in the halls of power and diminished resources,” he said in a statement.

“With respect to Latinos, this would be particularly damaging for a community that is poised to gain new clout and stature as the nation’s largest minority group,” he added.

Eliu Rivera, executive director of Jersey City-based Puerto Rican Association for Community Organization and a county freeholder, also opposes a Census boycott.

“From the beginning we have always worked in conjunction with the Census Bureau to make sure everyone is counted,” Rivera said. “Aid to our seniors, school aid, affordable housing, it means a lot to us.”

The Census data is used as a guide to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funding. Congressional and state legislative districts are also drawn based on population figures.

Siomara Sanchez-Guerra, president of the National Association of Cuban American Women in Union City, said her organization is up in the air about the proposed boycott.

“We don’t know a lot about it,” she said, but added the group has been pushing for immigration reform.