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The Supreme Court ruled the 2020 Census count can end on Oct 15, an act that will have repercussions. Photo: ELAINE THOMPSON / AP
The Supreme Court ruled the 2020 Census count can end on Oct 15, an act that will have repercussions. Photo: ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

The complex story of the 2020 Census comes to an end: What Latinos need to know

The Census ends on Oct. 15. This is your last chance to fill it out for another 10 years. 

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The 2020 Census will officially end Thursday, Oct. 15. Now, more than ever, it’s important for Latinos to make sure they are counted because the powers that be would rather they didn’t.

If you need to fill out your census form, you may do so online at 2020census.gov. Mailed census forms must be postmarked by the new deadline. Spanish speakers may respond to the census at 844-468-2020.

The series of retractions and pivots arose after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross backtracked on a plan announced in April that would extend the count until Oct. 31 because of the strains of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, advocacy groups, cities, counties, leaders, and Native American tribes have sued to extend the deadline. 

In response, a decision by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh on Sept. 25 issued a major blow to the Trump administration’s unyielding moves to cut the count short. 

Although it only served its purpose in part, keeping the count alive for an additional two weeks instead of ending at the end of the month.

The newfound urgency comes after the Supreme Court cleared the way for the Trump Administration to move forward with ending the count. The decision temporarily halts the lower-court decision of extending the count through Oct. 31. 
 

Before the lower-court decision, the Census would have ended on Sept. 31.

Still, ending the Census count short, even by mere weeks, could lead to massive undercounts among Black, Latinx, and Native communities throughout the United States, especially those in rural areas. 

Critics have put the Trump administration under fire for politicizing the Census throughout 2020, especially after appointing at least three political appointees to top positions within the Bureau.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only dissenting judge from Tuesday’s ruling to end the census short.

She highlighted that the Trump administration is actively downplaying the risk of ending the census count early, saying that “even a fraction of a percent of the nation’s 140 million households amounts to hundreds of thousands of people left uncounted.”

She added the nonresponse rate will likely be much higher among marginalized populations in hard-to-count regions.

“The harms caused by rushing this year’s census count are irreparable. And respondents will suffer their lasting impact for at least the next 10 years,” she wrote in dissent.

For Latinos, Electoral College votes, racist redlining tactics, trillions of tax dollars for health care, education, and more are on the line.

“Halting the census under the guise of expediency is an affront to the Constitution and undermines the right of every person to be counted,” wrote Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL). 

Latinx Congress members across the nation have been advocating the public to fill out the Census, through twists and turns, steadfast on the proven notion that any sort of undercut will result in decreased funding, particularly among Latinx communities.

“The civic, economic and political power of our communities is at stake. We will do everything in our power to protect it today,” Rep. Garcia continued.

The Hispanic Caucus called it, “an outrageous decision that will strip Americans of their right to be counted in our democracy — and it will disproportionately hurt Latino and immigrant communities,” adding that the Supreme Court should defend the Census instead of undermining it. 

To this, there is a grim, yet true answer demonstrated through the current administration’s constant attempts to silence the voices of the most marginalized.

In 2020 alone, the world saw it through Trump’s unrelenting efforts to end DACA, and through his dismal handling of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, specifically in regards to Black and Latinx lives. We see it now, with widespread voter suppression just 20 days before a Presidential election.

It would be a disservice to reality, to dismiss the fact that the President and his enablers are intending to harm the very same racial group it has set out to attack since day one of Trump’s bid for office. They don’t want us to be seen.

The Latinx community is already at risk of an undercount. If this last day proves to be too short, Latinx lives will essentially be denied a true reflection of their power.

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