A prominent Latino organization said Monday the U.S. Census Bureau needs to explicitly communicate there will be no citizenship question ahead of the 2020 count or risk undercounting minority groups.
Arturo Vargas, CEO of the NALEO Education Fund, said the effort by the Trump administration to include the question sparked fear and mistrust among Latinos in the United States.
Vargas said the issue continues to pose a challenge for nonprofit organizations working to ensure an accurate census, but the Census Bureau did not incorporate any information on the citizenship question debacle as part of its publicity campaigns.
“The bureau cannot leave it upon us — the nonprofit sector — to clean up the mess created by the administration,” Vargas said. “The Census Bureau needs to stand up at this point and head this challenge straight on.”
The Census Bureau says its ads were based on research and recommendations on “positive messaging.” One of the ads shows friends having dinner raising concerns of whether the responses will be shared with police or the “migra,” as immigration authorities are known. One of the men in the commercial says he filled it out in ten years ago and was still around.
“The 2020 Census ads are focused on making sure people know that taking the Census is important, easy and safe,” said the Census Bureau’s spokesman Michael Cook, adding that they “address confidentiality concerns.”
NALEO stands for National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and it is an organization based in Los Angeles that groups the 6,100 Latino elected and appointed officials.
The once-a-decade head count determines how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is allocated among the 50 states and how many congressional seats each gets.
ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON, Associated Press