Submit comments to keep citizenship off the 2020 Census!
The U.S. Census is a vital part of our democracy. Accurate census data is critical to ensuring fair, proportional voting representation. Census data is also used to allocate funds for health care, education, community development and “safety net” programs, and to monitor for discrimination and enforce civil rights laws.
Against the advice of U.S. Census Bureau experts, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross now wants to add a question about citizenship status in the 2020 Census. This would be the first time everyone would be asked about citizenship since 1960. MIRA and advocates across the U.S. are deeply concerned that, at a time of aggressive immigration enforcement and animosity towards foreign-born people, including the question could severely depress the response rate in immigrant communities.
You can make a difference by submitting a comment by August 7, 2018. Whether you’re an immigrant yourself, a community advocate, a service provider, a local elected official or just a concerned citizen, you can help us ensure that the government receives an overwhelming number of unique comments on this issue.
In partnership with the Mass. Voter Table, we’ve put together a factsheet, guiding questions and a collection of more in-depth resources to help you. Your comments can be as short as 250 words, or as long as you need them to be.
Key documents & backgrounders
Start here: MassBudget primer: Why the Count Counts
What’s at stake for key hard-to-count populations?
• Young children and their communities
• Latinos in the 2020 Census
• Asian Americans & Native Hawaiians & Pacific Islanders
• African Americans
• American Indians & Alaska Natives
• Middle Eastern & North African Americans
• People experiencing homelessness
• Low-income households
Here are some questions to guide you:
What’s your personal context?
Please emphasize what’s most relevant to the Census and citizenship question. This may include your job, education, community engagement, personal experience – whatever you feel informs your opinion on this issue. For example: “I am an immigrant from El Salvador, a naturalized U.S. citizen, living in a majority-Latino neighborhood.” Or: “I am a social worker at a community organization that serves hundreds of immigrants.” Or: “I am a School Committee member in a district with students from dozens of countries around the world.”
How did you experience the 2010 Census?
Did you answer electronically, in person, or not at all? If you did answer, how comfortable/confident were you in doing so? If you didn’t, why not?
How do you think your attitude and experience fit with those of your broader community, or your clients or constituents?
For example, did you answer the Census without fear, but you know your relatives and neighbors, clients or people you represent were afraid and didn’t answer? Did you talk with colleagues, friends or family who shared your concerns?
How do you and others in your community feel about the 2020 Census?
How do you personally feel about the 2020 Census, and in particular, the inclusion of the citizenship question? How are other people in your community talking about it, and how does this compare with the 2010 Census?
Based on your answers above, are you concerned about a possible undercount in the 2020 Census?
Focus on your community and others who are similarly situated. Please explain why you have these concerns.
Do you believe the citizenship question should be omitted from the 2020 Census?
Focus on your community, clients or people you represent, and others who are similarly situated. Please explain why you have these concerns.
Are there any other suggestions you would like to make for improving the 2020 Census form?
Although our comment drive focuses on the citizenship question, we encourage you to include any additional suggestions or comments that you might have.