FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019
New Report from National Latino Commission on Census 2020
Finds Upcoming Decennial Count in Serious Jeopardy
Report from Latino leadership outlines policy recommendations for Congress,
the Administration and the Census Bureau to address major challenges and obstacles to
a successful Census 2020
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund and the National Latino Commission on Census 2020 today released a new report, “The Community Speaks: A Report of the National Latino Commission on Census 2020”, during a briefing with stakeholders and partners at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.
The new report from the bipartisan Latino Commission outlines the state of Census 2020 for Latinos and its findings and recommendations for how Congress, the Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau can act now to save the upcoming decennial count and ensure that the Latino community is fully counted.
“Findings from our report show that Census 2020 is in serious peril,” stated California Secretary of State and Commission Co-Chair Alex Padilla. “Barring swift intervention, data from the 2020 Census will be inaccurate and incomplete. For the next decade it will make political representation less democratic, misdirect the flow of federal funding, and force businesses, policymakers, scientists, and the country to rely on erroneous population data. We cannot afford to wait. The time for action is now.”
Major policy recommendations for addressing ongoing challenges and obstacles to a successful Census 2020 include:
Congress must enact legislation to eliminate the citizenship question. It should not rely on the U.S. Supreme Court or the Administration to act to remove the citizenship question from Census 2020.
The investigation into U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ motives should move forward. Oversight hearings should continue to be held to determine Secretary Ross’s rationale for adding the question and to help ensure greater accountability by the Executive Branch for its actions.
Congressional appropriators must provide the Census Bureau with at least $8.5 billion for FY 2020. They must make the full amount of this funding immediately available at the beginning of FY 2020, when the Bureau will be involved in its final and most critical preparations for the decennial enumeration.
The Department of Commerce must reverse its decision to add the citizenship question to Census 2020. It should work with the Bureau to develop communications and outreach strategies to undo the damage that has been done by the public dialogue around the issue.
The White House and the Department of Commerce must send a strong and unequivocal message that they will comply with the protections in federal law that safeguard the confidentiality of information provided to the Census Bureau. This must be a “top-to-bottom” effort, which starts with the President, and is amplified through every federal agency. Administration officials should cease making statements or taking actions that might suggest they intend to ignore or undermine these protections.
If the citizenship question remains on the Census 2020 questionnaire, the Bureau must take aggressive actions to mitigate its negative impact. The Bureau must provide stakeholders with important information about how the enumeration will proceed if the question remains, including information relating to what will happen if the respondents leave the citizenship question blank, and whether and how the Bureau will use administrative records to impute answers to the question.
The Bureau needs to ensure that it both implements the best possible cybersecurity practices, and also educates the public about these protections. It should work with social media companies and online watchdogs to fend off persons spreading false rumors to suppress the count, or other entities which would disseminate misinformation or counterfeit Census sites. It also should work with cybersecurity experts to prevent manipulation of Census data.
The Bureau should ensure the Integrated Communications and Partnership Program includes specific messaging and strategies on counting all very young children in a household. This is particularly important because the majority of children uncounted in 2010 were those left off of households’ Census forms. For example, the Bureau should remind households to include “unrelated children” at every opportunity.
NALEO Educational Fund established the bipartisan National Latino Commission on Census 2020 with nine prominent Commissioners (as well as one Guest Commissioner) from different regions of the country to compile crucial information from the field and seek the best policy recommendations about the 2020 Census. The Commission held five hearings across the nation (Columbus, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando and San Antonio), taking testimony from more than 50 panelists and experts from the front lines.
“Latino leaders from across the country joined together to form this bipartisan Commission because we know firsthand how important accurate census data is to the states, counties and localities we represent,” stated Miami-Dade County School Board Member and Commission Co-Chair Lubby Navarro. “Our communities cannot afford to have an inaccurate count of the nation. We must remove the citizenship question once and for all so that no person is fearful of participating. We urge our nation's leaders to heed the critical policy recommendations outlined in this report.”
Speakers at the briefing included NALEO Educational Fund CEO Arturo Vargas, California Secretary of State and Commission Co-Chair Alex Padilla, Miami-Dade County School Board Member and Commission Co-Chair Lubby Navarro, Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs Executive Director Lilleana Cavanaugh, City of Central Falls (Rhode Island) Mayor James Diossa, Together We Count (Colorado) Executive Director Rosemary Rodriguez, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (Virginia) Board Member J. Walter Tejada, and Rhode Island State Representative (District 58) Carlos Eduardo Tobon. U.S. Census Bureau Assistant Director for Field Operations James Christy also provided remarks during the event.
The report from the National Latino Commission on Census 2020 is available here, along with a recording of the briefing and additional resources.
More information about the National Latino Commission on Census 2020 and its members can be found here and here.
About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation's leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
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