Nativo Lopez to Census: Count Me Out!

By Jerry Kammer and Jerry Kammer on August 17, 2009

Rejecting as a slap in the face last week's statement by President Obama that immigration reform would not advance until next year, Mexican-American activist Nativo Lopez called on illegal immigrants to boycott the 2010 census.

Lopez, president of the Mexican-American Political Association, said illegal immigrants needed to send the message: Don't come to count me in your census until there is legalization. He said his organization's call for a boycott is being joined by the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, which he identified as the largest coalition of Latino pastors in the United States.

Lopez made his remarks on the Sunday news program "Al Punto," on the Spanish-language Univision TV network. They followed host Jorge Ramos's observation that when Obama was running for the presidency last year, he promised to start moving a comprehensive immigration reform bill during his first year in office.

Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza criticized the call for a boycott, which Lopez said would be part of a strategy that will also include nationwide marches and protests. "It's like saying, Since you don't want to hear me, I'm going to be quiet," she said.

Martinez expressed confidence that an immigration reform bill would begin moving early next year, especially if Latinos continue pressuring the Congress and the White House for action. She noted that Sens. Charles Schumer, Robert Menendez, and Lindsey Graham have already begun conversations with Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Xavier Becerra, and Luis Gutierrez and others over the substance of the legislation.

Lopez has long been a fiery militant. In a 2006 appearance on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, he angrily objected to Dobbs use of the term illegal aliens.

Lopez told Dobbs: "You don't say kike, patty, WOP, OK, you don't say nigger...That language is offensive, it's derogatory, it's denigrating, and don't use that terminology to me again, referring to my people."