Updated: Aug 6, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2020
CONTACT: Brandon Lee
CHANGE TO CENSUS DEADLINE WILL ERASE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES
Immigrant communities need more time to be counted in 2020
On Monday evening, after days of uncertainty following an NPR story, the U.S. Census Bureau formally announced that it would stop collecting responses to the 2020 Census on September 30, one month earlier than the previously announced deadline of October 31. In response, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights released the following statement from Maria Fitzsimmons, ICIRR’s Census Campaign Director:
“The Census is a cornerstone of our democratic process: it’s the foundation from which we base the representation our communities will receive in Congress, and the federal resources coming back to our communities annually. More than that, it is an important opportunity to recognize the contributions our people make to our communities, and to show that our neighborhoods are growing. Everyone counts in the Census, regardless of immigration status, because we ALL benefit from the resources, representation, and visibility that the Census brings.
“But the Census Bureau and the Trump administration have repeatedly sought to undermine the 2020 Census. This latest announcement to end data collection on September 30 is yet another instance of the Administration’s attempts to erase immigrant communities.
“In a time of great uncertainty, our government has the opportunity to be a source of stability and focus. Instead, the Trump administration has chosen to use chaos to destabilize our communities in an already difficult situation to undermine our effort for fair representation and access to resources. With the possibility that Illinois may lose not one but two congressional seats if we are undercounted, this agenda is a threat to every person in the state of Illinois.
“The steps needed to achieve a full count are not difficult: fund Census operations and extend Census operations and reporting deadlines. For immigrants, undocumented community members, Black communities, young people, renters, and non-English speakers who are already among the hardest hit by COVID-19, a careless Census operation means erasure for ten full years and devastating impacts of that erasure for years beyond.
“We have two calls to action in this moment:
“First, to the U.S. Senate - it’s not too late to rectify this situation. The Senate must pass an extension to statutory deadlines as requested by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in April and already passed by the House of Representatives in the HEROES Act, allowing the Census Bureau more time to conduct the count. The Senate can also pass an appropriation to fund Census outreach operations. The House has already passed legislation with both of these provisions, and now it’s time for the Senate to do the same. The US Senate must stop being an obstacle to the protections and resources our communities require.
“Second, to our community members - now is the time to complete the Census. ICIRR and our 50+ partners will be continuing our outreach throughout the summer, regardless of the deadline, to ensure that immigrant communities are fully counted. You can still participate today at my2020census.gov.”