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Garcia Presents on Drug Trade and Transnational Migration, Discusses Obstacles in Enumerating Hispanic Immigrants in U.S. Decennial Census

Victor Garcia, anthropologist and director of the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Training Institute, presented papers at two conferences in the past few months.

Garcia presented “Enumerating Hispanic Immigrants: Observations from Census Studies and Recommendations for an Accurate Count” at the H2R 2012: International Conference on Methods for Surveying and Enumerating Hard-to-Reach Populations. The conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from October 31 to November 3, 2012.

The paper addressed the many challenges in accurately counting Latino immigrants who are a hard-to-reach and a hard-to-study population. Latino immigrants make up nearly 40 percent of the total Latino population, and all indicators are that this population will continue to increase over the next two decades. The enumeration challenges were identified through his participation in four U.S. Census Bureau sponsored ethnographic studies conducted over the last 20 years. He focuses on the findings from his last census study, “the Nonresponse Follow up Census 2010 Observations of Hispanics and Others in the Greater Dallas Area”, conducted in May 2010. Among the many barriers identified in this study were a distrust of the U.S. federal government, the lack of bilingual and bicultural enumerators, unfamiliarity with the decennial census process, and issues of language, including illiteracy. If future censuses are to be successful with this immigrant population, Garcia argues, they must include enumeration strategies aimed at mitigating these and other barriers. He concludes his paper with a number of recommendations.

Garcia also presented “The Drug Trade and Transnational Migration: The Emergence of a New Drug Culture and Economy” in a rural development open session at the 13th World Congress of Rural Sociology, held in Lisbon, Portugal, in August 2012.

He was also the organizer and chair of the above session, comprised of researchers from different countries of Latin America.

The paper is based on his recently completed five-year National Institute on Drug Abuse research project, conducted in both southeastern Pennsylvania and southern Guanajuato, Mexico.

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