Arturo Vargas (center), president of NALEO; Lubby Navarro (left) and Lilly Cavanaugh (right), members of the Comission. 

By Santiago D. Távara

Image credit: Lenin Nolly

 

The 2020 Census would be in “serious danger” were the federal government to maintain a question about the citizenship of the respondents that would generate fear among the population with irregular migratory status, according to a new report from Latino groups.

The National Commission on the 2020 Census presented recommendations to Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump to address a series of challenges and obstacles to achieving an adequate count.

The study entitled “Speak Community: A Report of the National Latino Commission on the Census 2020” was sponsored by the National Association of Elected and Designated Latinos (NALEO), one of the most influential organizations in the United States.

“The findings of our report indicate that the 2020 Census is in serious danger,” California Secretary of State and Commission Co-Chair Alex Padilla said at a conference on May 22 hosted at the Press Club.

“Without rapid intervention, the data from the 2020 Census will be inaccurate and incomplete” which will result in less political representation, lack of federal funds and, in addition, “will force businesses, decision-makers, scientists and more to depend on erroneous population information, “Padilla warned.

“We can not afford to wait. The time of the action “to achieve more favorable results for the Hispanic population in the United States in the Census that takes place every ten years in the United States is now” he said.

A key point is to ensure the counting of minors, because in the last Census (2010), 40 percent of the children who were not counted were Latinos, president of NALEO Arturo Vargas warned.

The main recommendations include the approval of legislation by Congress to eliminate a question about citizenship, which should not rely on the Supreme Court or the Trump administration to eliminate that question.

Likewise, the Commission is urging an investigation to the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to know the reasons why he decided to keep the question in the Census questionnaire. In this regard, they must continue these hearings in Congress.

The funds of the Congress for the Office of the Census, that ascend to the 8 thousand 500 million dollars, must be available at the beginning of the fiscal year 2020 in October, to assure the continuity of the preparations for the count of the population, according to the report.

In addition, the Department of Commerce must review its decision to add the question of citizenship to the Census 2020 and the White House must send a “firm and unequivocal message” to protect the confidentiality of respondents, according to the report.

The members of the Commission indicated that if the question about citizenship is maintained in the Census 2020, authorities should take adequate measures to mitigate the negative impact if the respondents do not answer that question.

On the other hand, they said that the Census Bureau should implement cybersecurity protections in conjunction with social network companies to curb false rumors that seek to intimidate in particular groups of ethnic and racial minorities in the country.

To prepare this report, the Commission held five hearings in Columbus (Ohio), Los Angeles (California), New York, Orlando (Florida) and San Antonio (Texas), in which it documented the testimony of more than 50 experts.

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