A Race Over Hurdles, Latinx Leaders Push For Census Completion
The decision to end the 2020 Census early could diminish voting power and funds from BIPOC communities.
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The 2020 Census is ending early, thanks to a decision by the Trump administration to end data collection sooner than initially planned.
This could lead to massive undercounts among Black, Latinx, and Native communities throughout the United States, especially those in rural areas. The census count is ending a full month earlier, a decision that is also projected to impact difficult-to count populations.
The Census Bureau will stop all efforts to solicit responses on Sept. 30, meaning the nation has just a month left to get as many people counted.
Because of COVID-19, the date had originally been pushed back to Oct. 31, but now operations have been shortened on the basis that it is necessary to meet the Dec. 31 deadline to deliver the statistics to Congress.
The Latinx community is already subjected to being undercounted due to language barriers, education, fears over immigrant status, and often complex living arrangements.
While Latinos 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.
An accurate count of the Latinx population is integral to determining these necessary funds, which is why the Census is so important.
Latinx leaders across the nation are 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 by promoting its accessibility.
And on Sept. 1, groups represented by The Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice are asking a federal judge in Maryland to issue a temporary restraining order by Sept. 18, in an effort to block the Trump administration from ending the 2020 Census a month early.
The move runs on the basis that previously, the administration extended the census on the premise of making sure the census counts as many people as possible. By cutting it short, it signals more is potentially at play.
La Union Del Pueblo Entero is also suing Donald Trump, saying his administration is attempting to manipulate the Census to undercount and deny political representation to “Latinos, Asian Americans, and non-U.S. citizens.”
Advocacy and action such as this are a fight against suppression, and the Trump administration’s actions are a blatant attempt to reduce counts in critical regions and to cut the voting power of BIPOC communities.
The positive note is that we still have a month until having to wait another 10 years. As of Aug. 4, the national self-response rate is at a modest 66.5%, though 3.5% below the final 2010 self-response rate.
The prospects are low, but the only way to fight the administration is by continuing advocacy and pushing for responses — especially from those Trump would benefit from being silenced.