Senate Members of Color issue statement about recent Census Bureau decision

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Senate Members of Color Caucus issued the following statement today:

“The Census Bureau recently announced that they were changing their operational plan to complete Census data collection by September 30, 2020 – rather than the previously planned October 31, 2020 – and have abandoned their request to extend statutory deadlines for delivery of the final census count to the President and the states. This leaves only six weeks for non-response follow up, which could jeopardize efforts to completely and accurately count our community members. And rushing the data collection process could leave historically undercounted populations without an accurate count, again.

As the Members of Color Caucus, we understand exactly what is at stake. Hundreds of federal financial assistance programs rely on census data to inform the distribution of funds – whether to states, counties, cities, households. These include Medicaid, highway planning and construction, special education grants, school lunch programs, low income home energy assistance, foster care, and so many other crucial programs on which our neighbors rely.

The census has traditionally undercounted communities of color, young children, lower income individuals, people for whom English is a second language, undocumented immigrants, Native Americans, members of the LGBTQ community, people experiencing homelessness, and those who distrust the government. These same communities are in profound need of equal representation in government. Without an accurate count, we risk disenfranchising these communities even further, and making it harder for them to access important services.

We oppose the federal government’s decision to rush the census count and to shorten the time allotted for non-response follow up. We believe that everyone counts, and we will continue to work hard to ensure that our whole community is accurately reflected in data determining the funding and representation we all receive.”