The 2020 census is a time for every person residing in the U.S. to be counted and represented. And counting everyone means everyone, regardless of immigration status. Yet President Trump continues to make moves that are hindering the ability for all residents to participate in this constitutionally mandated census.
How the Trump Administration is trying to deter Latinos from participating
“Latinos should not let the president intimidate them into not being counted,” she says.
In the past few months, the Trump administration has made various efforts to affect the census with the intention of excluding minorities who tend to lean Democratic so that federal funds and congressional representation could be redirected to Republican-friendly states. Last month, President Trump ordered the Commerce Department to do what it could to exclude undocumented immigrants and this past Monday it was announced that the 2020 census would end a month early. However, these efforts are in vain.
“The president doesn’t have the power to overwrite the 14th Amendment, which calls for counting everyone, regardless of their immigration status,” Murguía writes.
Legally, every resident must be counted. There are few exceptions to this, such as tourists or foregin businesspeople who are not long-term inhabitants of the U.S., but Murguía notes that this does not apply to immigrants who “whether undocumented or otherwise, have put down roots, who own businesses, have become members of their communities and raised families.”
These efforts by the Trump Administration are simply scare tactics and stunts made to deter minorities from participating in the census, but it is crucial that they do.
“When the census takes that once every ten years snapshot of our community, Latinas have to make sure that we are part of the photograph that is being taken in that moment,” says Amy Hinojosa, President and CEO of MANA, in the video below.
Why census data is crucial in building thriving communities
Not participating in the 2020 census will cause real harm and lasting effects to states with large immigrant populations.
“The fear brought about by the Trump administration’s latest action could result in immigrant-friendly states losing out on federal funds and congressional representation,” writes Murguía. “If immigrants, undocumented or not, or anyone married to an undocumented immigrant, fail to fill out a census form out of fear, they will not be counted and that could mean that children and adults who are U.S. citizens in that household would likely also not be accounted for. And like votes, every person counts.”
Additionally, ending the census a month early will exclude minorities who are more likely to be counted by in-person census workers. Every single person counted helps to bring more funds and representation for their communities. Being counted means having a voice and say in how and where funds are distributed.
“If just one person is deterred from filling out the census, that’s money that doesn’t go to community schools, hospitals, children’s health programs and the like,” Murguía writes.
For minority communities, lack of funding can have damaging effects, leading to program cuts that many rely on. Census data is crucial to these communities because it is used to decided where funds will be allocated. These funds are used for programs like Head Start for students, for parks and recreation, and access to health care.
“We need to make sure there is enough information so that we can build communities where Latino families can thrive,” says Amy Hinojosa.
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Don’t fall for it: Make your voice heard!
The first step to building those thriving communities is to fill out the 2020 census and be counted. The scare tactics pushed by the Trump Administration hold no legal weight.
“Just…don’t fall for it,” Murguía urges. “Mr. Trump’s supporters should realize that this will be just another empty promise to be tossed in the pile with others like the one about Mexico paying for the wall, that achieving 6 percent economic growth would be easy, the 2017 tax cuts would pay for themselves, or that the coronavirus would disappear by the summer.”
Filling out the census form is quick and easy and your data will be protected. There are laws against sharing your data for anything other than its intended purpose, so do not be afraid to have your voice heard.
If you require help or would prefer to fill out the census in Spanish those options are also available to you here.
“Don’t let the president stop you from being counted and contributing to your communities,” Murguía concludes. “He doesn’t want Latinos and immigrants to skip the census because they don’t count, but because they do.”
Your voice matters. Representation and funds for Latino communities is crucial to building thriving environments. So do your part today by filling out the 2020 census and ensure that your voice is heard.