Sunday, March 19, 2000

INS says Census data safe

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Legal or illegal, immigrants should cooperate with Census 2000 without fear the information will be used against them by the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), district director Mark B. Hansen pledged this week. “We're not privy to that information,” he said during a visit from Cleveland to the Cincinnati office.

        He acknowledged a “reluctance out there” among immigrants to fill out census forms, but “they shouldn't be in fear that INS is going to get that information.”

        INS isn't asking and the Census Bureau is barred by law from sharing individual replies, he said.

        On the other hand, Mr. Hansen said, INS isn't backing away from its campaign against criminal immigrants and criminal employers.

        A statement from headquarters in Washington elaborated:

        “INS employees will avoid contact or interference with census workers and community-based census outreach sites.

        “Census-related activities may not be used as a source of leads or intelligence-gathering for INS operations in any way and INS will strive to avoid any appearance that they could be connected.”

        While INS will continue to enforce the law, “INS will take special care in residential neighborhoods and defer some routine and discretionary enforcement operations during peak census activity periods.”


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