STATEMENT: Trump administration seeks to erase undocumented communities from Census

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2018

 

CONTACT: Sam Yu | syu@nakasec.org | 213-703-0992

 

Trump administration seeks to erase undocumented communities from Census

 

Chicago, IL –  On Monday, March 26th, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross agreed to a request from the Justice Department to include for the first time since the 1950s a citizenship status question on the 2020 Census. NAKASEC & Affiliates, HANA Center of greater Chicago and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) of Southern California, strongly oppose the last minute addition of this question which only serves to lower the count of immigrant communities.

 

U.S. Census data is critical because it gives the government pertinent demographic data regarding who lives in the U.S. and which communities need the most support. Moreover, the data collected is then used to allocate federal funding for education, health care, and other social services accordingly. To ensure that Census data is both accurate and used correctly, the Census relies on open, honest participation of community members.

 

Reinstating the citizenship question will directly impact the Census’ accuracy and reliability particularly for immigrant communities. By asking such a sensitive question without any legal basis, hundreds of thousands of people in our communities will feel compelled not to fill out the Census out of fear of being targeted by this administration. This will result in millions of immigrants, regardless of immigration status, being excluded from not only the Census but also representation in vital government programs. Furthermore, even citizens of the U.S. will feel obliged not to fill out the Census out of concern over how such personal information will be used by this administration which has shown its true colors over immigration. Xenophobia and politics have no place in the Census; the decision to add the citizenship status question is adverse for the Census, our communities, and for America.

 

These sentiments have been echoed by 60 members of Congress, including Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Representative Grijalva (D-AZ), and Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), who oppose this last minute addition, 161 Republican and Democratic mayors from across the nation, and immigrant communities who will bear the brunt of this burden should the citizenship question be reinstated.

 

On Tuesday, March 27, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and 6 other U.S. Senators introduced the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act, legislation that would protect the accuracy of the 2020 census and ensure any proposed changes to the count are properly studied, researched, and tested. NAKASEC & Affiliates demand that Congress swiftly pass the 2020 Census IDEA Act because our communities have a right to be included in important, comprehensive data without fear for their lives, their families’ lives, and for their communities at large.

 

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Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice.  NAKASEC maintains offices in Annandale, Virginia, Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California. NAKASEC has affiliates in Chicago (HANA Center) and Los Angeles and Orange County (Korean Resource Center).