Congress must act immediately to provide an extension of the statutory reporting deadlines for apportionment and redistricting data. This extension is necessary to ensure the Census Bureau has enough time to properly process the massive amount of Census data collected and provide accurate counts to the President and the states. In the absence of this extension, counts that are delivered will be rife with inaccuracies and inconsistencies which will prevent a full count of communities of color.
In May 2017, our collaborative, the foremost coalition of organizations dedicated to civil rights and racial justice, sounded the alarm that the 2020 Census was at risk of not fully counting communities of color. Nearly every aspect of the completion of Census counts has been immensely and detrimentally impacted by COVID-19. And, this was after years of criminal underfunding, a delay in hiring community-based enumerators, the thwarted attempt at adding a citizenship question as well as an additional effort to exclude immigrants from being counted by the administration. Without statutory relief, the Census Bureau will deliver counts to the President around 12/31/20. If Congress does not act to push back the reporting deadlines, the numbers the administration, and the states are provided will not have had sufficient time for adequate data processing and quality checks.
This is another attempt by the administration to erase communities of color from our American democracy. By utilizing inaccurate Decennial Census data, the administration will effectively ensure that communities will be underrepresented in Congress, erroneous voting districts will be drawn, federal funding of upwards of $400 billion annually will be distributed to communities that may not need said resources, decision making will be hindered when providing disaster relief and pandemic responses, and civil rights enforcement will be handicapped. Quite simply, doing our important work in the context of an inaccurate Census count is detrimental to the very communities we are trying to serve.
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Advancement Project National Office, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Demos, Faith in Action, NAACP, National Congress of American Indians, National Urban League, Race Forward, and UnidosUS are a collaborative of nine leading national racial equity anchor organizations (the Anchors) supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Together, we work to promote racial equity, advance racial healing, and ensure that all children, families, and communities have opportunities to reach their full potential.