American Community Survey: The scam that keeps on scamming

On January 8th I wrote American Community Survey: Big Brother or Scam? I eventually decided to fill out and submit the ACS; now I regret it.

Two weeks after mailing in the survey, we started to get phone calls from a mysterious 800 number. No name on the caller id, just a number.

After, literally, hundreds of these unanswered calls, we slipped. I was traveling and my wife answered the call, despite the anonymous caller id, thinking it might be from a hotel or calling card. But it was someone claiming to be from the Census Bureau wanting to "verify" our answers to the American Community Scam. If these calls were really from the Census Bureau, why would the caller id name be blocked? Obviously, this is a follow-on scam.

My wife was polite, but cautious. She confirmed the names of the people living in the house (information you can get from a multitude of sources). But when the caller started asking specific questions about our finances, she wisely stopped. "How do I know you're really from the Census Bureau?" she asked. After she refused to answer any more questions, the caller told her she would need to call another 800 number to verify his authenticity.

Yeah, right.

If I were to setup up a scam, I'd do just this. Specifically, I'd call numbers from the phone book at random and ask, "I'm calling about the American Community Survey you recently submitted." If the resident hadn't received the survey, I'd hang up. But if they had received it and returned it, I'd ask them to "verify" their answers, and proceed to ask their names, social security numbers, and financial information. If they refused to answer and demanded some form of authentication, I'd give them an 800 number they could call. When they did, my partner would answer the phone saying, "US Census Bureau, American Community Survey department. How can I help you." OK, we'd want this to sound like the government, so maybe he wouldn't be so polite. But anyway, he'd "confirm" that the previous caller was indeed from the government, and that they had to answer every question asked.

How many people would fall for a scam like that? I'd bet 90% of the US population, based on the number of people that forward me junk emails about Microsoft paying out $100 each time that email was forwarded.

Ironically, the US Department of Justic, has a web page on Identify Thelft and Fraud. On that page, the DOJ gives some good advice about avoiding identify theft at home, including:

  • Start by adopting a "need to know" approach to your personal data. A person who calls you and says he's from your bank doesn't need to know information if it's already on file with your bank; the only purpose of such a call is to acquire that information for that person's personal benefit.
  • If someone you don't know calls you on the telephone and asks you for personal data -- such as your Social Security number, credit card number or expiration date, or mother's maiden name -- ask them to send you a written application form.
  • If they won't do it, hang up.
  • If they will, review the application carefully when you receive it and make sure it's going to an institution that's well-known and reputable.
Based on the guidance given us by the Department of Justice, it's clear that we should all discard the American Community Survey if we receive it in the mail, and hang up when they call.
Comments:

Are you so sure this is a scam? I read on another of your postings on this issue, that it was not a scam. What is the truth here? I called the Washinton DC. Census office, and a Mr. Burns in Washington DC. Told me it is not a scam.

Posted by leodus on February 05, 2008 at 06:45 AM EST #

Can Mr. Burns confirm that the person who called my home last week was really from the census bureau? If I called you right now and said I was from the census bureau, would you tell me your personal information? (And was his first name "Monty"?)

I know the ACS is real; I just don't know if the calls are legit. What I do know is that if it is legit, it's being handled in a very poor manner, and as a result, opening the door wide open for third parties to launch identify theft scams based on the ACS.

Posted by Bob Hueston on February 05, 2008 at 06:51 AM EST #

you do not have to reply to the american community survey. you can safely ignore the mail, phone, and doorstep harrassment they have in store for you.

no one has ever been fined or prosecuted for not doing the survey. the fines are there only as a threat to induce you to fill out the form. they will not stand up in court so no one will ever be prosecuted, just threatened.

peace

Posted by resident on February 17, 2008 at 11:01 AM EST #

I too have been asked to fill out the American Community Survey. When I first began answering the questions I became more and more uncomfortable with the type of information they demanded. I simply could NOT finish filling it out, my gut instinct is NOOOO. Several weeks later I once again received the survey, insisting that I fill it out or suffer fines and penalties. I still just could not do it and infact every time I think about it, it makes my blood boil. I feel a bit like a little kid--with my arms crossed, brow furrowed, heels dug in stating "I WON'T." NOW someone has been to my house twice leaving a note that says I need to make an appointment to "let" them help me fill it out. AUUUGGHHHHHH--- Does anyone know where I can get help, so these people will leave me alone?

Posted by Angela I Won't on April 21, 2008 at 12:13 PM EDT #

I just got approached by a "American Community Survey" person. No ID, unmarked car. She drove up to the house and said we were required by law to respond to a survey. Then she went on to ask us our name and address, also the work phone number. If she was legit, shouldn't she have our address? Isn't that what these surveys are based on. Either these folks are really incompetent or a scam -- or both.

Posted by suspicious on May 11, 2008 at 02:08 AM EDT #

The Census Bureau has a web page http://www.census.gov/epct/mso/household_surveys/004007.html that states that if a Census Bureau employee contacts you, then should:

1. Show you their Census Bureau identification badge,

2. Tell you the name of the survey for which your participation is needed

3. Provide a copy of the notification letter you received or should have received, in the mail describing the survey.

If you have any concerns, you should contact the Census Bureau national processing center at 1-866-226-2864 to confirm the identify of the individual.

Posted by Bob Hueston on May 11, 2008 at 03:03 AM EDT #

I actually had an ok ending to my saga...the lady representative of the CB left a personal note telling me that she HAD to continue trying to contact me until the form was filled out. (it was a nice note, she sounded like she was just as eager to have this go way as I was) So I called her and I told her I wouldn't answer certain questions and she seemed fine with that and had me use an anonymous name, Jane Doe, I did not have to answer any question I was uncomfortable with. I have not heard from them since.

Posted by Angela I Won't on May 11, 2008 at 06:25 AM EDT #

I got a package from the Census Bureau 2 years ago (2006) called the American Communities Survey. It was explained that this "survey" was to be used to determine things like number of day cares, toll roads, etc that were needed. Asking where did I work, when did I leave for work, what time I came home, on and on. Ten or so pages asking very personal question about me AND anyone living under my roof, family or friend. This was way beyond even the nosy questions the ten year census wants you to answer. And right on front it said federal law said I had to fill it out. All through this little pamphlet it kept saying in bold letters that I was required by federal law to answer these questions. This was NOT the Constitutionally ordered census. This thing was more like information found in a dossier of personal habits the Gestapo would have kept. I'm not exaggerating this thing. Keep in mind that this survey says you are required by federal law to answer personal questions and give personal opinions about the other people living in your house. Or someone is answering those questions about YOU if you are not the head of the house !
I blew a gasket. To make a long story short, I called, emailed and faxed Senators, Congressmen, the A.C.L.U., rights groups and anyone else I thought should know exactly how I felt about this breathtaking violation of the civil rights of me and every other citizen of this country. Because I found out that the Census Bureau was sending these out to a certain number of households THROUGHOUT EVERY YEAR BETWEEN THE REAL CENSUS UNTIL EVERY HOUSEHOLD HAD FILLED ONE OUT !!!
I also during this time called the district Census Bureau and told them I had thrown their survey in the trash, which I had kept to copy and fax to my Senators and Congressmen, letting all of them know that I refused to fill it out, prosecute me. Same thing with the representative the Census Bureau sent to my house. I let them know straight up that I was exactly the type of person to make a federal case of this if necessary.
They knew that this thing was extremely illegal. And they knew I knew, and so would anyone else who saw it. And that's the reason they don't send them out to everybody at once. They really don't want a lot of attention drawn to this brazen violation of this country's laws covering everything from personal privacy rights to using the postal service for officially sponsored intimidation and harassment to threats of illegal prosecution for failure to comply. The bureau first claimed Congress Oked it then backed off that and said it was strictly voluntary and how federal law prevented anyone but them to have or use the information. Yeah, right !! The whole design, layout and tone of the American Communities Survey was on one hand telling you how giving up this information was actually in your best interest and on the other intimidating and threating people into filling it out.
After a week or so of phone calls, emails and faxes between me, politicians and the Census Bureau, they sent me a letter saying how sorry they were at the misunderstanding, I was not required to fill it out bah, blah, blah and please forget the whole thing, of course they weren't going to prosecute me, they couldn't prosecute me, I would never ever hear anything more from them on the matter again, please leave them alone,please, please please.
I don't tell this to make myself out as a bada$$. On the contrary, I'm not. I tell this story to show from real, personal experience that politicians and government officials will lie to your face and violate any law they want to if they think you won't say or do anything about it. But if you get in their face about it and let them know YOU WILL FIGHT THEM they will leave you the hell alone. Because they reluctantly understand that under our democracy the people run the government, not the other way around.
Local, state and especially the federal government use the Census Bureau to try to collect information on it's citizens that they don't dare try to get themselves because they know it's illegal. Combine that with other records they have such as your tax returns, employment, driving, criminal etc (your beyond naive if you think they don't share those records with each other), a total stranger can know more about you than your family or best friends.
The Constitution says the population must be counted every 10 years. It only allows Congress to decide how to count our actual numbers for the purpose of determining how many Representatives a state is entitled to. It does not allow Congress or any other part of the government to use the Census Bureau to collect any other type of information on it's citizens.

Posted by Jim Thompson on May 20, 2008 at 07:44 PM EDT #

I get to join folks as a recent lucky recipient of the ACS. It's a disgrace and an unacceptable violation. The only way to stop this is for everyone to contact all of your Congressman (and more), your local newspapers and news outlets, talk radio stations, and various conservative think tanks.

I urge you to contact as many as possible and make as much noise as possible. Only by banding together, remaining determined, and forcing this into the public eye will anything change. Please.

Posted by Incensed on May 31, 2008 at 06:16 AM EDT #

I got one of these a few days ago, read through the questions, and blew a gasket. I sent the following e-mail to my Congresscritters, House and Senate:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Recently, I have received a survey from the US Census Bureau called the American Community Survey. On the front of the envelope is the statement, "Your response is required by law."

When I opened the envelope, I found that it contained a 28-page survey filled with questions that I regard as an egregious invasion of privacy on the part of the government.

I am fully aware that the US Census Bureau is Constitutionally mandated to do a national head count every 10 years on the decentennial year... the next one is due in 2010. The purpose is to determine how Congressional House districts are to be proportioned.

They are entitled to know how many people live in my house. The answer to that question is, "One." They will receive that answer in 2010.

However, the American Community Survey claims that under Title 13, under threat of a $100 fine, I must answer such questions as, "How many minutes did it take this person to get to work last week?" and "How many rooms are in this house, apartment, or mobile home?" and "Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?"

Uh... hello? What would the Census bureau be doing with information like this, since they're mission is merely to count the population? WHY on earth do they NEED to know whether or not I can bathe myself???

And why am I required "by law" to answer these invasive questions?

And my last question: Would Title 13 actually stand up to a Constitutional challenge if they tried to haul me into court for not answering?

I'm sorry, sir, this survey is probably completely innocent. But when I think of what happened to the Japanese Americans during WWII, answering these kinds of intrusive questions, for no good legal reason that I can determine, gives me the creeps. The information demanded on this survey is a long way from the only answer they're Constitutionally entitled to, "One."

Could you please investigate this and find out for me what I am actually legally responsible for? This does NOT seem to me to be a legitimate use of government resources, nor a legitimate collection of information. Virtually everything the government needs to know about me, legitimately, can be found on my tax returns.

Thank you for your attention,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

End of e-mail. I'm really furious about this, and believe that Jim Thompson has the right attitude about it. If I'm called, I'm going to tell the suckers that I'm consulting with my Congressmen about the survey. If they persist, I'm going to tell them where to stick it.

Posted by mamapajamas on June 04, 2008 at 08:59 AM EDT #

I’m not a lawyer, but I found an interesting subsection in Title 13. You can look it up yourself.

Title 13, chapter 7, subchapter 2, section 225, subsection c states, “The provisions of sections 221, 222, 223, and 224 of this title shall not apply to any censuses or surveys of governments provided for by subchapters III and IV of chapter 5 of this title, nor to other surveys provided for by subchapter IV of such chapter which are taken more frequently than annually.”

Section 221 is that section which stipulates fines for not responding to a census or survey. Chapter 5 subchapter 4 is that part which gives the Secretary authority to collect and furnish annual or other interim data.

So… since the ACS is a monthly survey, and their own literature says the ACS gives them the ability “to collect and disemmenate data on a continuing basis”, I think section 225 (c) says that penalties don’t apply to the ACS because it is conducted more frequently than annually.

Anyone else read it that way?

Posted by incensed on June 04, 2008 at 02:02 PM EDT #

I find it curious that not one of my friends, co-workers or business associates have received this American Community Survey. In reviewing the survey I saw the threat that by law it had to be completed. So, I began to work on it and was totally shocked to find it not only asked for my age but also asked for the month/day/year of birth. It goes on and is more and more invasive with each page. I could not in my right mind find a reason for such detail to be given. I find this invasion of privacy and civil rights appauling. One would think the information we supply the IRS from our tax returns and the Census Bureau collects every 10 years should suffice. I have to agree with Incensed above and believe I will also send an email to my congressman and others to voice my outrage. I have no intention of completing this survey which I find to be unconstitutional.

Posted by Indignent in New Jersey! on June 10, 2008 at 01:49 PM EDT #

I urge you all to call and write your Congressmen. After discussion with one of mine, he has contacted the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau and requested a review of this matter.

If enough people make enough noise, we can stop this thing and keep our Constitutional rights secure.

Posted by Incensed on June 28, 2008 at 03:50 AM EDT #

I received the American Community Survey last month. I, too, was shocked by the questions they insist I am required by law--they even quote the sections and subsections--to answer.

I had a number of e-mail correspondences with the Census Bureau about this. They contend that they conduct it to comply with the "Voting Rights Act of 1965." They ask questions about whether you are Hispanic, then say that for this survey, "Hispanic" is not considered a race. Then they go into the race questions.

By the time I read through the entire thing (50-some pages), I realized that I would have to prepare my 2008 Federal Income Tax Return, in order to complete the survey. I saw red, and decided I would not be cooperating.

I have received e-mails in response, as well as 6 or more phone calls from the Census Bureau. The reason they are doing this, is so that they can redraw district lines, and control the electoral college. This comes from the Obama White House. Obama stated that he was going to be "directly involved with the census."

This is not how it is supposed to work. Politicians are not supposed to be using Census data to manipulate the electoral process. The Census is supposed to fall under the Department of Commerce, and be independent.

I found this survey--it's not even the 2010 Census--to be personally invasive. Names, ages, addresses, and occupations, should be sufficient. I was informed by the Census Bureau, that I was required to respond:

"The ACS is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is required by Section 221." There are fines up to $5000, and possible imprisonment, so they say, for falsifying data, or incomplete responses.

I was also told this--and THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT--"You are correct that 2010 Census results will used for reapportionment and redistricting purposes."

AND THIS: "The nation also needs data for Hispanics, specifically. For example, the Department of Justice requires information about Hispanic Origin, in order to implement the Voting Rights Act (originally passed in 1965, and renewed last year)."

BEWARE. I am not cooperating, and I don't think that anyone else should, either.

Posted by sludgediva on March 10, 2009 at 04:08 PM EDT #

I have also received a ACS and agree that if we all complain to our congressmen and make our neighbors aware of this survey then maybe we can have it declared unconstitional. Write to your newspapers, radio talk show host, Fox News and anyone else you can think of. The more noise we make the better. This invasion of our privacy and the intimidation tactics of the US Census Bureau is wrong!! Please voice your opinions.

Posted by Ward on March 12, 2009 at 03:37 AM EDT #

I just tried to post a very descriptive comment, and received a message that it had been rejected as spam.

Nothing obscene, just the facts.

Posted by sludgediva on March 13, 2009 at 03:27 PM EDT #

I on the other hand feel the survey is a huge benifit to us Americans. The survey gives the Federal Government information on how to improve our great country. The survey allocates funds to our childern's schools and our loca hosipitals. Let's keep the government informed, being uninformed is only a downfall. Many of you seem to be uninformed, shame on you Americans... Educate yourselfs. spoke to a Census Representives (when I called the 1800 number) and she was very well spoken, and very helpful in explaining the questions since I wanted to answer all the questions to the best of my ability.

I LOVE YOU "BIG BROTHER". ;)

This post and the comments make me wonder if people even know the defination of a scam. You guys are upset that you guys were selected to complete the American Community Survey, but waste much more time complaining and being big ol babies. On the American Community Survey you don't even need to put your name! So talk about "invasion" right? Psh that's a joke. Now what's not a joke is the need to keep our Government INFORMED. Now if we had a total uninformed govt. you guys would be crying to and funds would be going in ways they weren't needed.

Grow up.

Posted by Frank Bush II on June 28, 2009 at 02:18 PM EDT #

You can't be serious. Keep our government informed? Seems folks like you get incensed about wiretapping terrorists. There is such a thing as privacy. Have you read the questions on the 2008 American Community Survey? You should, and then you will understand why I decided not to answer them. Here is one message I sent in response:

Dear Mr. Raglin:

I recently received a sizeable survey in the mail to complete. It states that I am REQUIRED to complete this, and that there are penalties for not doing so.

I protest. The survey questions are invasive with respect to my privacy. I have always resented government intrusiveness, and the desire to "manage" and control people by means of demographic categorization.

I believe that the ACS, and the 2010 Census are to be used in order to re-district areas of the nation, for the purpose of manipulating the electorate. This is done all the time. It was done several years ago, AFTER an election. I went to my polling place, and voted for one of the names on my ballot for County Commissioner. This candidate won the election. Shortly afterwards, I received notice by mail that the "lines had been redrawn" for my district, and that my new County Commissioner was now Dario Herrera. Dario Herrera's name was not listed on the ballot as a candidate for the office when I voted!

At that time, Dario Herrera's district was quite a distance from my neighborhood. His district was predominantly populated by Mexican-Americans. For some reason, my neighborhood (a tiny pocket not really attached to Herrera's district) was plucked out, and assigned to Herrera's. I was not given a choice about this, or the opportunity to vote for, or against him. His name was not on the ballot.

Dario Herrera is now serving time in prison. So is Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, who was my County Commissioner prior. Come to think of it, Erin Kenny, and some other Clark County Commissioners were all convicted of corruption. Now, Rory Reid (son of Harry Reid, the Democrat Senate Majority "leader") is my commissioner.

What reason do I have to trust a single elected official, and why is President Barack Hussein Obama inserting himself into the 2010 Census? I thought that the Department of Commerce handled the census, and believe it is unethical for the President to use the information for political purposes. This is what the Democrat Party is about, and I don't wish them to have ANY of my personal demographic data, or my financial information. Something evil and corrupt is happening in this country. One party is gaining control over every aspect of our lives, and they will use census data to help them accomplish this. Obama has announced that he will involve himself in the 2010 Census, and that he will have the Department of Commerce report directly to him.

For what reason is the 2008 ACS survey so very interested in race, and especially whether people are of Hispanic, Mexican, Spanish, Latino descent? We are supposed to be a colorblind society. We are also supposed to be a lawful one. Non-citizens should be turned over to Immigration authorities, if they are not in the United States on a valid visa.

I would appreciate a direct, honest response that addresses my concerns. Please don't try to go around the issues, I am not a stupid person, and I am not buying in on this survey. I also am not in awe of Obama, or unaware of what the Democrat Party is doing. There is no way that you need the kind of information from me that you are seeking, for a head count.

Sincerely,
Wendy Ellis
Las Vegas, NV

Mr. David Raglin forwarded my e-mail to Cheryl Chambers at the Census Bureau, and she responded. Pay close attention, as she describes how they held a "workshop, "public hearings," and "focus groups," to determine the racial (and other) categories. I never heard about any such public hearings. I have never been asked to participate in anything like that. She says that the "stakeholders" come from "diverse segments of the population." All this to revise the racial categories!

Read closely, about who the entities are, which require the data.

-----Original Message-----
From: cheryl.v.chambers@census.gov [mailto:cheryl.v.chambers@census.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 2:40 PM
To: yarnsnob@cox.net
Subject: The American Community Survey (ACS)

Dear Ms. Ellis:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS). Mr. David Raglin forwarded your message to me.

You are correct that 2010 Census results will used for reapportionment and redistricting purposes. However, while the ACS is part of the 2010 Decennial Census Program, it collects and produces population and housing characteristics, rather than a headcount, and is sent to a small percentage of our population on a rotating basis. These data previously were collected only in census years in conjunction with the decennial census. In Census 2000, we asked for this detailed information from one in every six addresses. The ACS questionnaire collects nearly the same information and is sent to approximately the same number of addresses over a five-year period. However, since the ACS is conducted every year, rather than once every ten years, it provides more current data throughout the decade.

Questions in the ACS are required to manage or evaluate federal and state government programs. For example, information about utilities is used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to administer their programs. Information on income is required for use by the Social Security Act, the National School Lunch Program, the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, and by the U.S. Department of Education for grant allocation.
Journey-to-work information is used by federal, state, and local transportation planning agencies in designing regional transportation systems.

The nation also needs data for Hispanics, specifically. For example, the Department of Justice requires information about Hispanic Origin, in order to implement the Voting Rights Act (originally passed in 1965, and renewed last year). The Department of Education also requires these data in order to conduct studies, evaluations, and assessments of the number of disabled children of various racial and ethnic groups who graduate.

As a result of increasing diversity of our nation's population, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) decided to review the existing Race and Ethnic categories (i.e., American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander, Black, White, for Race, and Hispanic origin or Not of Hispanic origin for Ethnicity). The OMB organized a workshop, as well as public hearings and focus groups to discuss whether the current categories could be revised to make them more relevant. Groups and individuals who provided input for the process of revising the Race and Ethnic categories were stakeholders from diverse segments of the population.

After a thorough review, the OMB approved the race categories for the ACS:
American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian (with some specific Asian choices listed), Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (with some specific Asian choices listed), White, and Some other race. Because Hispanics can be of any race, the OMB specifies that respondents also must self-identify as “Not Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino,”
or as one of several specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino origins.
“Caucasian” was among the Race options under review, but after extensive research and consultation, “White” was determined to be a better choice for the purposes of response.

The ACS is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is required by Section 221. The Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about respondents strictly confidential.
Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine up to $250,000 or a prison sentence up to five years, or both.

Ms. Ellis, if you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to call me directly or contact our Customer Services Center on 1 (800) 923-8282.

Sincerely,

Cheryl V. Chambers, Chief
Communication Management and Support Branch American Community Survey Office U.S. Census Bureau Room 3K067
Phone: 301-763-3572

After countless phone calls over a three week period (which I did not answer), a woman (a LATINA woman), came to my home TWICE, threatening me with fines and/or imprisonment for refusing to respond. I contacted the Federal Census Bureau, and the little old lady who took my call chuckled, and said, "Honey, nobody has EVER been fined or imprisoned for refusing to respond. We specifically instruct our employees NOT to threaten anyone with fines or imprisonment. You should not have been threatened."

That's nice to know. I finally answered a minimal survey over the phone, to the LATINA supervisor of the LATINA woman who threatened me. My name is Person 1, I am about 50 years old. Person 2 is about 17. I refused to answer the Hispanic/Latino question. I answered the "Race" question and classified myself as "Human." I told them we have 4 bedrooms, hot and cold running water, and an indoor toilet. THAT'S ALL.

Did you know, that for the questions about race, you can choose as many as you like, whether you are part of those races or not. And, you don't have to belong to ANY of them, to simply decide that you identify with one. e.g. suppose you are white, but want to say you are black--even though you are not--you can do this on the 2008 American Community Survey!

In my view, we have so many people in America who are a product of multiple racial groups. So what? Who cares? Race is not supposed to matter anyway, right? I don't care what color anyone is. I care whether they live in America because they love my country, or if they live here to get what they can out of me.

Posted by sludgediva on June 29, 2009 at 04:48 AM EDT #

I sure have read the questions, if you read my post I did say I completed the survey and tried to answer the questions to the best of my ability. Thus I have read the questions on the American Community Survey, and any question I felt was unnecessary on the form I simply asked why the question was asked and the Census Representative gave me a detailed explanation as to why the question was on the American Community Survey. Much like the answers you got via E-Mail. I wonder how you know the origins of the ladies you spoke with? And why is the ethnic origins of the ladies makes in difference in regards to capitalizing the words "LATINA" when referring to them. I'm happy you did a portion of your duty as a Citizen by completing the survey, even if the answers where incomplete, if you did further research into the questions, and educated yourself on the use of each question I'm sure you'd be more willing to answer each question. Some people are just never happy. I wonder if you'd rather have an uninformed government? Or a government that didn't care to know about it's people?

Oh and due to Title 13 of the United States Code, information can not be shared on a more than STATICAL BASES, meaning no personal information can be shared from within the Census Bureau (Names, Address etc.) only the statics of the information collected can be shared, thus if a person is here in our country illegally the Census Bureau can not share the person's personal information, only their statics. This is all due to Title 13 of US Code which protects you as well. NOW I understand how this information could be used to lower the numbers of illegals in our country, BUT if it were used as a form of proof to give to the immigration departments then illegal people would have fear of completing the survey and then WE WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW if illegals were in our country. So is it nicer to just not know they live here? Or to know they live here, have the most accurate data we can possibly have to try to know how big the problem is (of people here illegally) and try to find the best way to deal with illegals here. We can only make a good decision once we are INFORMED. Which is why if we want our government to make good decisions we need to keep our government informed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. =]

Posted by Frank Bush II on July 12, 2009 at 09:34 PM EDT #

How did I know the origins of the ladies I dealt with? Well, perhaps because I personally met the woman who came to my home, and she told me her name. Also, by her accent. The same was the case with her supervisors, minus meeting face to face.

We are supposed to be a color-blind society. Most of us don't care about skin color or ethnic descent. We are all supposed to be Americans. The specific questions about race and "Hispanic" or "Latino" origin should not be asked. If the survey is interested in heritage, why not ask me where my ancestors came from? If the survey is concerned with race, why would specific groups be treated separately? The whole thing is bogus. People have all sorts of races in their pedigrees, and some do not even know their origins, being adopted.

In fact, for the purposes of that survey, you do not actually need to be part of a specific racial group, in order to claim "identity" with one (or as many as you like), which are listed in the question about "race."

Yes, the responses ARE used to redraw district lines for elected office, and should not be.

As for my own race? I always identify myself with the "Human Race," whenever asked. I can't go wrong with that.

The people who designed the American Community Survey are really digging deep. Soon, no one will be cooperating, and for good reason. If all they wanted were names, birth dates, and a head count (occupations would be good), I would feel differently about answering those questions. The more invasive the survey questions become, the less likely people are to answer them.

Posted by Wendy Ellis on July 13, 2009 at 03:56 PM EDT #

Wendy Ellis... your so "color-blind" and not worried about people's race and ethnic orgin that you capitalized "LATINA".

Interesting...

I also find this interesting...
"I thought that the Department of Commerce handled the census, and believe it is unethical for the President to use the information for political purposes. This is what the Democrat Party is about, and I don't wish them to have ANY of my personal demographic data, or my financial information. Something evil and corrupt is happening in this country. One party is gaining control over every aspect of our lives, and they will use census data to help them accomplish this."

And who does the Dept. Of Commerce report to? Humm?

And the 2008 American Community Survey (the one your complaining about) WASN'T EVEN UNDER OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT'S CONTROL AT ALL. Humm who was President in 2008? keep on bitchin'.

Posted by Pedro M. Garcia on July 19, 2009 at 12:54 AM EDT #

Why would a US Supreme Court nominee identify herself as a Latina, rather than an American? So, Pedro, which is it for you? You bet I'll keep on "bitchin." Nobody should move to a country unless they love that country and want to be part of it.

No country should be expected to change in order to accommodate the demands of immigrants; immigrants need assimilate themselves into the existing culture. Of course, heritage is important, and it is what makes life interesting. However, there is a language and culture that bind a strong nation together.

Families need to pass on their traditions and celebrate them. No one resents this! But people resent it when "groups" think they are owed, and are entitled to special priviledges. Why is it that an English-speaking country must accommodate those who speak Spanish? There is no accommodation for those who speak Thai, Japanese, Tagalog; only Spanish.

Somehow, nobody ever hears about oppressed immigrants of Asian origin. They don't demand special voting rights, there are no ballots printed in Japanese. There are no district lines drawn on the basis of Filipino heritage. Try to take a driver's license test if you speak Thai in Las Vegas. Try to take the test if you are from Laos. You will not be accommodated, and you are not permitted to have a translator.

My neighbor caucused at my precinct with me last year. He emigrated from the Philippines, and firmly believes in English only in the USA. He is a legal citizen, and it took him many years to achieve US citizenship. He insisted that his children learn English.

A dear friend of mine was a Filipina immigrant, and has been an American citizen for many years. She had to live apart from her husband for six years before he was permitted to come to the US. They are Americans first. My neighbors, and my friends.

My point in mentioning the nationality of the woman who was threatening me with fines and imprisonment for not completing the AMERICAN community survey is this:

There was an entire section specifically devoted to people of "Hispanic" or "Latino" origin. On the survey, the question stated, "For the purposes of this survey, Hispanic or Latino is not considered to be a race." It comes as no surprise, that the very people who identify with the groups classified in Question 4, are heading up the effort to get answers to Question 4 of that survey.

Why should they be permitted to threaten me, if I choose not to help them manipulate the electoral system on the basis of skin color or ethnic heritage?

There should be NO questions about race in any survey. We are supposed to be Americans, and INDIVIDUALS, not group members. Human beings are being classified as belonging to specific groups, which politicians want to cater to in order to get the votes of such groups.

The whole idea offends me, and your response to me, Pedro, makes me sick. It perpetuates the idea of confining individual human beings into herds, which can be controlled based on particular characteristics.

Why should they be permitted to threaten me, if I choose not to help them manipulate the electoral system on the basis of skin color or ethnic heritage?

Voting Rights Act of 1965 is the excuse they give. 1965 was over 40 years ago. Plenty of time to learn English, or any other language for that matter. Consider the Vietnamese refugees who settled on the Gulf coast in the New Orleans area.

These families built their livelihood in the fishing industry. In a single generation, their children all learned English, and have the top SAT scores in Louisiana. I did not hear a single comlaint, or plea to "rescue" these people as victims of Hurrican Katrina. I wonder why?

Unless someone can explain to me why people from India, Japan, and a some other countries are not given "minority" status here in the US, I don't want to hear any more on this topic.

As Ayn Rand wrote, "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."

I am an individual, not part of any ethnic or racial group. I am a citizen of the United States of America, because our Constitutional Republic stands for individual rights.

It is very sad that individual rights are threatened here, in the greatest country on earth--which was created to protect individual rights! It is sadder still that there will be no place left to go. I am certainly not welcome in, say, Mexico!

Posted by Wendy Ellis on July 19, 2009 at 08:01 PM EDT #

This is for Wendy Ellis..
"You go, girl!"
You are so right. My German grandparents learned English and became citizens as soon as they could. There were no special rights. They were hard working people and so proud to be counted in the 1900 census. My Swiss grandmother struggled to learn to read and write English...so she could take the test to be American. I refuse to answer questions about my ethnicity in any survey. I, too, am a human being and an American. I refuse to be pigeon holed as anything else. Illegal aliens deserve no rights, no representation nor a voice in the running of this country...and damn well should not be counted...except on their way to the deportation center.

Posted by Sandy on August 04, 2009 at 06:43 AM EDT #

Thanks, Sandy. I appreciate your understanding my point. It is a struggle to learn a new language, and the older people are, the more difficult it is.

People who come to America and do not learn English are at a disadvantage. Certain groups would like to keep them in a disadvantaged position, so as to keep them dependent and guarantee their votes!

Spread the word, Sandy, and thanks again.

Posted by Wendy on August 04, 2009 at 11:08 AM EDT #

Amen and amen, Wendy. Thanks for defending this position so beautifully...and compassionately. Now, let's work on 'de-informing' our government. We will be better off when they have less to do.

Posted by Jenny on August 04, 2009 at 08:17 PM EDT #

Jenny ---- So, you would rather have the decision-makers making decisions without accurate data?? Yes, the government wastes money, but even more money would be wasted if the legislators do not have access to accurate statistics.

Posted by Citizen on September 04, 2009 at 07:23 AM EDT #

I started looking for answers on the all mighty internet when I read the questions on the survey. I was so upset with the invasion of privacy. Why do they need to know when I leave for work and when I return, what race I am, can I bathe myself...what? I see from the many comments that I am not alone in my reaction. Yes there are a few of you who totally trust our government, I am not one of those citizens. I will not be completing the survey and I will be contacting my elected government officials of my feelings. Thanks for all of you who commented. It helped me feel justified in my concerns.

Posted by Citizen of the "land of the free" on October 01, 2009 at 02:04 PM EDT #

Thanks, Citizen. I attended the March on DC on 9/12/09, and met hundreds of thousands of folks--nice folks--who feel the same way I do. It was so important to me that I traveled there from Las Vegas to take part. As for some of the posts, by those who believe I should consider myself priviledged to be selected to take part in the 2008 ACS, shame on you! And to think that ACORN was going to assist the Census Bureau in the 2010 Census!

When I asked the woman who harassed me at my home about completing the 2008 ACS whether she was a member of ACORN, she replied, What's ACORN? She did not sound convincing in her response! She answered much too quickly.

When the 2010 Census begins, I am simply going to supply a head count and occupation. I would normally supply my name, as that is useful in tracing ancestors, but naturally, they already have this information...

Never give in, and never give up. America is the best country on earth, and our founding is much too hard-faught and precious to allow it to be stolen from us by a bunch of Marxists!

Posted by Wendy on October 01, 2009 at 06:07 PM EDT #

I hope Pedro understood Wnedy's comments and did not take offence.
I have a lot of spanish speaking friends that are first generation. They work their tails off and have learned or are learning English and have the same work and educational ethics attributed to Asians. I wish that all the immigrants had to go through channels to get in, if they did then all this would not be an issue. I also know many undocumented folks who are fantastic and would like to be official citizens. They are trying to master English and they make sure their kids intigrate.

Now to the CB issue...
I was told by my CB caller that I had to answer. I was told that it was wrong to fear the CB. "If you can't trust your gov, who can you trust?" I asked " Are you kidding me?" The constitution tells me to fear my Gov. To be vigilant in overseeing what they do and keep them in check. I am very opposed to this type of intrusion. Also, the form I got has an updated legal refference of a new statute that raises the possible fine to $5,000 for refusing to comply. I am not going to comply.

Pedro, I believe Americans are Americans first. Americans don't demmand special considerations based on ethnisity. Ethnicity is the richness of American history and Caucasians are immigrants too with ancestors and history and the majority of them had to learn English. I am the son of immigrants so please, Pedro, accept the sincerity of Wendy's comments. All of us need to be wary of Gov intrusion and to be vigilant in keeping it from growing too big. All of us are the little guys... but the little guys are supposed to be the employers not employees.

Posted by Ryan on October 14, 2009 at 07:02 AM EDT #

I have received several similar emails like this one.

Posted by links of london jewellery on November 22, 2009 at 06:15 PM EST #

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