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American Apparel Firings Don't Justify a Census Boycott

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Oct 07, 2009

The mass firing of undocumented workers at American Apparel in Los Angeles is an injustice, even if it does have a legal basis. It is sad that sanctions against employers who hire the undocumented have taken aim at a company that treats its employees with respect, rather than those that exploit them and their immigration status.

This shouldnt happen. The strict enforcement of these penalties should be part of a comprehensive immigration reform bill whose components include legalization for those with regular jobs who have been building their lives in this country, as the employees of American Apparel. Now it seems that the much feared immigration raids have been halted for the moment. Now, rather than being deported, heads of households just lose their jobs some consolation.

No matter how outrageous this strategy by the Obama administration may be, it does not justify political suicide as an act of protest against it.

The case of American Apparel is one example used by those who advocate a Latino boycott of next years national census. They say a boycott will hurt the politicians who want to count the undocumented for the benefits that high population numbers represent, but without wanting to legalize their status.

This argument ignores the fact that the party hurt most in this case is not the politician, but the person not counted. That families will not be taken into account when nearly $450 billion in federal funding is distributed to meet the needs of various communities. Not being counted in 2010 will cause damage that will last 10 years, until the next census.

The Census Bureau will distribute bilingual forms. The Spanish-language medialike Impremediatogether with organizations like the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) are leading a campaign to get Latino and immigrant communities counted.

Current immigration policy is frustrating, but is no reason to hide behind as an act of defiance. The response should be precisely the opposite: to show how many we are and that we will not be ignored.

Related Articles:

Census Boycott Splits Latinos

Census Boycott Divides Immigrants

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