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|EDITORIAL: Be Counted! 2010 U.S. Census
Every 10 years, the United States conducts a census of all the people who reside in this huge, diverse nation. It is not only an undertaking of mindboggling magnitude and complexity, the census also has enormous political, social and economic significance.
The reason for this is that the data collected from the decennial census provides the basic information of the demographic characteristics if this increasingly diverse and protean nation.
Therefore, if you aren’t counted, you lose out, your community loses out. Why? In a democracy, there is strength in numbers. Federal funding for the community, perception of the public and the media—much of this is determined by the demographic makeup that is provided by the U.S. census.
Consequently community leaders and activists are making a special effort to create awareness about the vital importance of participating in the census. To the credit of the U.S. Census Bureau, it has also made a concerted effort, including a remarkable outreach to ethnic minorities, to put the word out that it is critical for everybody in the U.S. to participate in the forthcoming census.
The hope is that all will participate in a census that provides complete information about the people living in this country. That is vital for the nation, its government, and all the various communities that make up this wondrous land
Veteran activist Inder Singh writes in detail about the issue in this month’s cover story.
One of the most frequently heard grievances in a typical immigrant social gathering is the difficulty visitors from the home country face when they plan a trip to the United States. You all have heard the wails of disappointment: Father or Mother was really looking forward to attend granddaughter’s high school graduation, but the U.S. Consulate played spoilsport.
It refused both of them a visitor’s visa. Or it gave grandmother a visa, but refused grandpa, which amounts to the same thing.
The U.S. visitor’s visa has always been a challenge for visitors from Third World countries, and the 9-11 terror attacks haven’t made things easier. To be fair, there is also considerable demand for the visitor’s visa, and not all requests are genuine.
Having said that, there are a set of do’s and don’ts that applicants would be well advised to follow. For starters, never give false information. And gather enough convincing documentation so the U.S. Consulate can be reasonably sure that the applicant will actually return.
Of course, all of this doesn’t guarantee a visitor’s visa, but if an applicant follows these guidelines, the chance of getting a visitor’s visa are considerably enhanced. Attorney Mahesh Bajoria walks readers through the various steps in an article this month.
The recent terror attack in Pune is a rude reminder of the awful, horrific threat of extremist terror that continues to bedevil India in particular and South Asia in general.
Of course, India is located in dangerous neighborhood. A war is going on in Afghanistan, and the violence has spilled over in Pakistan, particularly in its lawless North West Frontier Province.
There is considerable evidence that suggests that the powers that be in both Pakistan and Bangladesh have provided aid and support to extremist Islamist groups.
India is a robust democracy, but its entire security apparatus is not as efficient as one would like. There are disquieting signs that there may be indigenous extremist groups which are getting more and involved in terrorist activities.
Nor is all the violence coming from Islamist extremists alone. In large swaths of India, Maoist radicals are becoming increasingly bold and violent, adding to the security headaches for the nation.
For once, the Indian government has made a smart political decision. It cannot be a coincidence that the bomb blast in Pune happened just when India had agreed to talk to Pakistan after a 15-month delay. While it’s still unclear who was behind the Pune blast, it seems highly probable that the goal was to derail the upcoming talks.
India refused to play ball. The talks themselves resulted in little diplomatic progress, but the very fact that it happened is significant, and surely handed a setback to the extremists for whom the biggest nightmare is peace in South Asia.