Las Vegas Census to be a Local Effort

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The local administrator of the U.S. Census plan
to count every Nevada resident next year says he plans to enlist
local help and emphasize local benefits of full participation in
the every-10-years effort.

"I'm a federal employee. But I'm trying to downplay the federal
role in all this," David Byerman as he prepared to open an office
in Las Vegas on Tuesday. "It's more about Nevadans counting
Nevadans."

Byerman acknowledged the need to overcome a Nevada brand of
Western antipathy toward the federal government during the
statewide canvass, which officials say could yield the state a
fourth congressional seat and increased federal funding for roads,
school and other projects.

The census also creates thousands of short-term jobs, Byerman
said.

Byerman said Nevada is starting preparations sooner than most
places, and said he plans to recruit thousands of canvassers from
diverse communities. He noted that the 2000 census enlisted 4,000
people at its peak.

Those employed for the task are expected to focus on a
fast-growing Hispanic population now believed to be at least 25
percent of the state's 2.6 million to 2.7 million residents - up
from 10.4 percent in 1990 to 19.7 percent in 2000.

Officials call efforts to reach Spanish-speaking residents vital
to gaining an accurate count in Nevada in 2009.

Arcadio Bolanos, an assistant manager for the 2000 census office
in Las Vegas, called Hispanics "the X factor" in 2010, and said
he felt there is more fear in the Hispanic community now than 10
years ago.

Officials say many people they hope to count have family ties
with an estimated 150,000 illegal immigrants in the region.
Anti-immigrant groups, high-profile government raids on workplaces
around the country and a new program letting Las Vegas and
immigration authorities identify and deport illegal immigrants from
the Clark County jail could undercut the Census count.

"They're just thinking, 'Why should I help bring in more
federal funds, if those funds are just going to be used to hunt
down illegal immigrants?"' Bolanos said.
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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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