You may have seen that the White House has taken steps to unconstitutionally undermine the accuracy and integrity of the 2020 Census. One of this administration’s goals is to increase fear of census participation and suppress the census participation among undocumented immigrants. In partnership across the county, we are taking a stand and want to inform and involve you.
In concert with the Community Action Partnership and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (read their statement here), we want to affirm our shared goal of a fair and accurate 2020 Census that counts everyone.
The White House issued a memorandum that states that “for the purpose of the reapportionment of Representatives following the 2020 census, it is the policy of the United States to exclude from the apportionment base aliens who are not in a lawful immigration status under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.)”.
What Does This Mean?
The White House is trying to redefine which people count as “persons” and scare all immigrants from participating in the census. The Census Bureau will continue to reach out to all households to respond to the 2020 Census. We must protect our communities, the Constitution, and the census from political manipulation by encouraging participation in the 2020 Census.
What Can You Do?
- AFFIRM THE CENSUS AS CONSTITUTIONAL: The constitution says the census counts everyone living in the United States — every immigrant, every child, every neighbor, every student, everyone — for purposes of congressional apportionment. There is nothing unclear about the constitutional requirement that the number of representatives in Congress for each state be based on the whole number of persons living in the U.S.: “Persons” means “persons,” and that means everyone. Non-citizens have been included in the census and for congressional representation throughout our nation’s history, including under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
- AFFIRM VALUES: Undocumented immigrants live, work, and go to school in every state. They are even more than just inhabitants, they are a part of our communities. Undocumented people are persons living in each state and deserve to be counted.
- AFFIRM OUR COMMITMENT TO PARTICIPATE: We will stand and be counted. While the White House wants to leave states with inaccurate numbers that will deprive communities of federal assistance to recover from the pandemic, we will not give in. We will continue to protect our communities, the Constitution, and the census from political manipulation. Let’s make sure we get the resources and political power we deserve in Marin County and in California.
- ALLEVIATE FEAR: It’s everyone’s right to respond to the census, and when you do, federal law strictly protects the confidentiality of your responses. Personal responses collected by the Census Bureau must be kept confidential for 72 years. That means the Census Bureau can’t share your personal information with ICE or law enforcement or any other government agency or court of law; it can’t be shared with your landlord; and it won’t affect any public benefits you receive.
The Census Bureau takes its legal responsibility to keep personal data it collects confidential very seriously. Hundreds of community organizations and civic leaders from across the country have signed a Census Confidentiality Pledge and committed to using every tool necessary to make sure nothing interferes with that obligation. Census Counts partner organizations Arab American Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed officials (NALEO) Educational Fund have launched multilingual Census hotlines, providing census-related educational support and legal assistance for communities in more than 10 languages.
We will continue to keep you informed. Let’s stand together now—share this information with community members and colleagues to get out the count!
Chandra Alexandre, CEO
p.s. Here is a joint statement from Community Action Marin and Canal Alliance that we just released.