Data from all people in the U.S., including immigrants and refugees, is essential to Census 2020
Friday, Mar. 27, 2020
SALT LAKE CITY — As the national April 1 Census Day approaches, immigrants and refugees in the United States may have fear and questions about participating. However, because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the census form may not include a question about citizenship, and because of the strict rules regarding the privacy of the data given to those who respond to the census, “there is little chance that any personal information given in the census would be used by the Department of Homeland Security against immigrants and refugees,” states the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Justice for Immigrants website, justiceforimmigrants.org.
“We urge for all people to be counted in the census, regardless of their citizenship. Proposed questions regarding immigration status will obstruct accurate census estimates and ultimately harm immigrant families and the communities they live in. Our society, rooted in the strength of the family, cannot risk missing this opportunity to give children and parents the tools they need to succeed,” Bishop Joe Vasquez, of Austin, then chairman of the Committee on Migration, said in a statement last year.
According to the JFI, immigrants should be encouraged to respond to the 2020 census because the population statistics provided by the census determine the allocation of federal funding for programs that support and improve the community.
“Census data helps direct more than $800 billion annually to key programs designed to advance the common good, strengthen families and reduce poverty,” Bishop Frank Dewane, of Venice, Fla., the then-chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said in a statement last year. “The Catholic Church and other service providers rely on the national Census to provide an accurate count in order to effectively serve those in need.”
Census data also determines how many seats in the U.S. House of Representatives each state receives for the next 10 years. “Responding to the census means that your community and state will receive the proper number of representatives to advocate for your interests,” the JFI states.
In addition, census data promotes community growth because “businesses use census data to decide where to build factories, offices and stores, which creates jobs. Developers use the census to build new homes, and local governments use the census for public safety and emergency preparedness,” the JFI states.