The arguments are done, the fate of millions of undocumented Californians now lies in the hand of the US Supreme Court Justices. The silence as we wait for a decision has been deafening.
The idea of a citizenship question for me goes to the core of who we are as a nation. This country was built on the backs of immigrants. The world is fed because of immigrants who toil in the fields across this nation. Yet, this administration doesn’t want them to be counted in the 2020 Census.
Adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census will not make us a stronger and more inclusive nation. In fact, it will have the opposite effect, leaving us to blindly apportion the nation’s resources and Congressional representation because we won’t be counting all residents.
In the 21st Century, when data can help us make smarter decisions, we will be purposefully undercounting residents. This head-in-the-sand approach does not make sense on any level. We must not fear reliable data we must embrace it.
But this is not just about census numbers. It’s about people’s lives – young children, immigrants (legal and undocumented), low-income families, and disadvantaged people of color. They will not get the government resources due their communities because of this calculated undercount.
These are the people who the California Endowment stands side by side with, and we will speak out for their right to get their share of government services and representation. We believe our mission requires us to be on the front lines for fairness in the 2020 Census count.
An undercount will not only cost California billions of dollars in federal aid, it could impact the number of seats the state gets in the House of Representatives. The citizenship question also is seen by many as a backdoor attempt to share confidential information with immigration officials, leading to more raids and deportations. That’s what many fear and that will keep them from participating in the 2020 Census.
A census is difficult enough without creating a manufactured undercount. The contemptible citizenship question must not prevail. We cannot sit quietly by and allow the angry policies of the privileged to take resources from those who need them most.
We must use all our energy in this mission for justice, and we can be confident that we stand on the moral high ground on this issue.
It’s incredibly important that we ensure that every Californian is counted no matter their socioeconomic or immigration status. We will be fighting for what is right, as we seek fairness and equity.
We hope individuals and organizations who believe in justice will join us to ensure a complete count of all people living in California, and the entire nation.
Our nation’s Founders wisely included the census in the Constitution to empower the people. Let’s not let them down.