In 2010, I received, filled out, and mailed in the census questionnaire as required by the United States Department of Commerce and the United States Census Bureau. Unfortunately, they responded by sending me a “long form” to fill out and return. Twice now, the long forms they mailed me to fill out winded up in my trash can. But today, I was threatened by a fine of $5,000 for failure to comply.
This is where I have decided to draw my line in the sand with the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau. I have been a citizen and taxpayer of this country my entire life. I have never been inside of a jail cell, nor have I ever asked for a handout or assistance from my government in any way. I am required, by law, to fill out the short form and I have complied. From here, I will be seeking legal council to defend myself against the illegal and unwarranted search of my personal life.
If you think I am making a “big deal out of nothing”, continue reading and become educated to the reality of the VERY personal questions that are asked in the 28 PAGE FORM!
The American Community Survey
The reason that a census occurs is to simply “count the number of people in your house”. This is achieved successfully in the 1 page form that every United States citizen fills out every ten year. The American Community Survey goes well beyond the scope of counting the number of people in my house. It asks very personal and private information that, in the wrong hands, could do severe damage to me and my household.
The first four pages collect personal information about the individuals living in your house. They ask:
- Name, relation, sex, date of birth, if the person is specifically Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin, and then ask what race you are – specifically leaving out the Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish origins as an option. There is room to list up to 12 occupants of a household.
The next three pages are questions related to your housing.
- You must describe the building at the mailing address.
- You must specify the year it was built.
- You must specify when you moved in.
- You must specify how many acres it occupies.
- You must specify if agricultural sales were performed in the property and how much money was made.
- You must specify if a home business exist on the property.
- You must specify the number of rooms in your house and you must specify the number of bedrooms.
- You must specify if the house has hot and cold running water, a flush toilet, bathtub or shower, a sink with a faucet, a stove or range, a refrigerator, and phone service.
- You must specify how many vehicles are kept on the property and are used by household members.
- You must specify which fuel is used for heating you dwelling.
- You must divulge the monthly cost of electricity, gas, sewage, oil, coal, kerosene, or wood.
- You must divulge received food stamps in the last year.
- You must specify if you dwelling is a condominium and what the rent is.
- You must divulge who legally owns your dwelling and what your rent or mortgage payments are.
- You must appraise your property – even though you are not an appraiser.
- You must divulge the real estate taxes paid on the property.
- You must divulge how much you pay in fire hazard and flood insurance.
- You must divulge if you have a secondary mortgage on your home and how much the payment is.
- You must divulge the total annual costs for personal property taxes, site rent, registration and licensing fees on mobile homes.
The next 4 pages ask personal and private information, once again, be divulged to the
- You must divulge where were you born.
- You must divulge whether you are a citizen.
- You must specify when you came to live in the United States.
- You must divulge you past 3 month history of schooling.
- You must divulge what the highest degree or level of schooling is that you have completed.
- You must list any Bachelor’s degrees.
- You must divulge your ancestry or ethnic origins.
- You must divulge if you speak different languages other than English, what they are, and how well you speak them.
- You must divulge if you moved in the past year.
- You must divulge which types, if any, of health insurance you are covered by.
- You must divulge if you have difficulty hearing or seeing without aid.
- You must divulge if you have a physical, mental, or emotional condition that makes it difficult to concentrate, remember, of make decisions.
- You must divulge whether you have difficulty climbing stairs, dressing, or bathing.
- You must divulge whether you have difficulty doing errands such as shopping and making doctor visits.
- You must divulge marital status.
- You must divulge if you’ve been married, widowed, or divorced in the past year.
- You must specify the number of times you have been married and the year of your last marriage.
- You must divulge if you have given birth in the past year.
- You must divulge if you are a grandparent who has grandchildren living with you under the age of 18.
- You must divulge if you are a grandparent who is responsible for the basic need of a grandchild and how long you have been responsible.
- You must divulge your military service record and if you have a “service connected disability rating.
- You must divulge if you have worked for a business in the past week or did ANY work for pay.
- You must divulge the name and location of the business you work for.
- You must specify if the business you work for is inside the city limits of your town.
- You must specify the way you got to work last week.
- You must specify the number of passengers who rode to work with you last week.
- You must divulge the hour and minute that you left for work last week.
- You must divulge if you were laid off, on vacation, experienced a temporary illness, maternity leave, bad weather, or took time off for personal reasons last week.
- You must divulge if you are laid off and have a return to work date or not.
- You must divulge if you have been actively looking for work in the past 4 weeks.
- You must divulge if you are jobless and “could have worked or not” last week.
- You must divulge when the last time you worked, even for a few days.
- You must divulge whether you have worked at least 50 of the 52 weeks in the last year.
- You must divulge the usual number of hours you work each week.
- You must divulge if you are employed by a private company, a not-for-profit group, a government entity, if you are self employed and incorporated or not, or if you’re working without pay in a family business or on a farm.
- You must divulge, again, your place of employment and the type of business or industry it is.
- You must specify your job title and the activity of your job.
- You must specify the dollar amount of wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, and tips you have made in the past year.
- You must specify the dollar amount of income from self employment in the past year.
- You must specify the dollar amount of dividends, rental income, royalties, and estates and trust accrued in the past year.
- You must divulge the dollar amount you receive in Social Security or Railroad retirement in the past year.
- You must divulge the dollar amount you receive in Supplemental Security Income [SSI] in the past year.
- You must divulge the dollar amount of any public assistance or welfare payments received in the past year.
- You must divulge the dollar amount of any retirement, survivor, or disability pensions in the past year.
- You must divulge the dollar amount of income received from VA, unemployment, child support, and/or alimony in the past year.
- You must divulge your total income for the past year.
You are asked the same questions for the next five people who you listed as household members at the beginning of this form.
Neither I, nor anyone in my household has anything to hide from the federal government. They can send the police, IRS, or whomever they want to investigate me for possible criminal activity and they will find nothing.
The problem I have with The American Community Survey is that it requires me to divulge personal information about myself and my household, without a warrant or specific reason, under penalty of law.
Just the thought of allowing a stranger to know how much I make and what time I go to work makes me cringe. Then there is the reality of identity theft and the security of my personal information entering into the equation. I have both, just and valid, reasons for refusal to comply to this invasion of my privacy.
Therefore, I resolve not to take this risk and stand firm on the 4th amendment that protects me from illegal searches and seizure from any government entity. I invite the United States Department of Commerce and/or United States Census Bureau to attempt to fine me. I invite them to take me to court or to get a court order to garish my wages to pay their penalties.
It is they who are in violation of Constitutional law, not I.