2020 Census blocked from ending early, extended through Oct. 31
The latest twist in Trump’s efforts to cut the once-a-decade count short was just thwarted.
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In a last-minute twist Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued a preliminary injunction requiring the Census Bureau to keep Census counting efforts going through Oct. 31.
The injunction is a major blow to the Trump administration’s sudden pivot from extending the time for counting an additional month because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic COVID-19.
The efforts infuriated Latinx leaders across the nation, who have been ceaselessly pushing to get as many people counted as they can, despite the pandemic, and despite efforts to undercount the most historically disenfranchised. They are doing this through increased advocacy, bilingual outreach, and constant reminders of its accessibility.
But even before the pandemic, certain communities were already at risk of being undercounted. Trump’s efforts to end the count without the previously allocated extension only exacerbated this.
Just as AL DÍA and several other outlets have reported, ending the census early would put historically disenfranchised groups at a disadvantage, and would ruin the integrity of the Census count.
That’s exactly what Justice Koh determined.
The report includes Plaintiff concerns that find Trump’s “Replan” would “likely degrade census data that Plaintiffs use to deploy services and allocate capital.”
It also addressed the effect it would have on redistricting.
“The undercount wrought by the Replan will not only ‘compromise the success of the apportionment count’ for Congressional representation, but also ‘severely compromise the quality of redistricting date’ for state and local representation.”
“An undercount from a truncated self-response period, lower quality NRFU, and rushed data processing all mean that Plaintiff’s federal, state, and local political representation will be diminished,” the order states, going on to say, “with large concentration of undercounted residents would be denied equal representation.”
Because of COVID-19, the date had originally been pushed back to Oct. 31, but the Trump administration attempted to shorten it on the basis that it is necessary to meet the Dec. 31 deadline to deliver the statistics to Congress.
The Latinx demographic is already subjected to being undercounted because of language barriers, education, fears over immigrant status, and often complex living arrangements.
While we are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country, these factors put the Latinx community at risk of being misrepresented, and potentially missing out on integral funding for their communities, and through adverse redlining.
In a July memorandum, Trump tried to exclude undocumented immigrants from the Cencus count, a move a separate panel of judges blocked earlier Sept, though the Department of Justice has since asked for a quick appeal process from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Congress itself hasn’t passed any legislation to extend the census reporting deadlines, although a bipartisan group of senators recently introduced a bill with extensions, NPR reports.
An accurate count of the Latinx population is integral to determining these necessary funds, which is why the Census is so important.
It has been extended through Oct. 31, but don’t wait until the last minute to fill it out.