A federal judge will soon rule on whether the Trump administration can add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census. If the question on people’s citizenship status were to be added, it could lead to an undercount of the Latino and immigrant communities by deterring those with a fear of deportation from responding.
The Constitution mandates a “count of all persons,” not a “count of all citizens,” so this question—which has not been tested or shown to be needed or effective—takes direct aim at immigrant communities throughout the country.
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT
How the census is administered is important because it’s the basis of how congressional districts are organized. It’s also used as the foundation for investment in small businesses across the country as well as numerous demographic surveys.
Not only can the census affect political power, but it can also affect the programs that help Latino families put food on the table and ensure that their children have access to health care. SNAP, Medicare, the National School Lunch Program, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are among the programs that could be negatively impacted if our community is undercounted during the 2020 census.
We must all join forces to work for a fair and accurate count of all Latinos and immigrants, especially in hard-to-count areas. If we don’t achieve an accurate count in 2020, the damage could be with us for years to come.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Here are a few ways that you can get involved to make sure we get it right in 2020:
- Get the word out about census jobs in your community.
The Census Bureau is hiring census enumerators across the country (census takers who collect data in their communities) to assist with the census count. These temporary jobs are flexible and well-paid and provide the perfect opportunity to earn some extra income while helping the community. Spanish-proficient enumerators who are familiar with the Latino and immigrant communities will be critical to the 2020 census count.
The Census Bureau website has more information, as well as job applications.
- Get involved in your state or locality’s Complete Count Committee.
One of the most important things states and communities can do right now to ensure that everyone is counted is to join a Census Complete Count Committee (CCC) and ensure proper funding for this body. CCCs are composed of government and community leaders from education, business, health care, faith-based, and other community organizations who work together as a trusted voice to develop and implement a census awareness campaign based on their knowledge of the local community to encourage a response.
An important question to consider is whether your state and community have CCCs that are funded, and do they have representation from Latino community partners? Having buy-in from the community along with adequate funding will be critical as the census gets under way.
The Census Bureau has a comprehensive guide to CCCs.
- Stay updated by following the UnidosUS Facebook and Twitter.
As the census gets closer, we will continue to share important news about how the count will impact our community and how you can get involved to make sure that no one is left out.
With your help, we can make sure that everyone counts.