Things That Matter

The 2020 Census Will Include A Question Asking About Citizenship And It Will Be Disastrous For Our Community

On April 1, 2020, the U.S. government will tally all of the people that live in the United States, but not everyone will be counted. The purpose of the Census — which take place every ten years — is to properly account for everyone that lives in the U.S. in order to have a correct figure in place for funding purposes, research, and have accurate statistics of all residents.

A new study reveals that more than 4 million people will go uncounted in the 2020 Census and that would be disastrous for the country.

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The Urban Institute, a nonpartisan organization, showed that the leading group that could be lost within the Census would be black and brown people.

“Every American should be counted, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, income or where they live,” Diana Elliott, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, said in a statement to NBC News. “The Census is a key building block of our government and our society at the national, state, and local level. Miscounts of this magnitude will have real consequences for the next decade, including how we fund programs for children and invest in our infrastructure.”

At the core of the issue is that some communities are difficult to reach while others won’t fill it out due to fear of discrimination or deportation.

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The report shows that most communities with white people are estimated to be over-counted by Census workers, where black and brown communities go under-counted.

It’s also no secret that the Trump administration seeks to add a citizenship question as well, which is currently under ligation. The Trump Administration has said they added that question in order to avoid voter fraud, but Latinx and immigration advocates the question will hurt states where immigrants and undocumented people live.

“These newly discovered documents clearly show the Trump Administration intended for the 2020 Census’ citizenship question to intimidate communities of color and silence us from participating in our democracy,” Democratic lawmakers said in a press release statement. “Furthermore, throughout the legal fights since Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add the citizenship question, this Administration has intentionally lied to the American people and Congress about their dubious intentions for altering the Census. The proof of their motivation has come to light, and it demonstrates with incontrovertible evidence that this Administration is working to undermine the foundations of our government. The results of the Census will change the course of our country for the next decade. It will decide how much federal funding communities receive, who is represented in Congress, and what kind of country the next generation inherits.”

The report shows the states that face the most discrepancies include California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, New York, and Florida.

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Here are some of their key findings:

  • The undercount of the US population overall in 2020 could range from 0.27 percent in the low-risk scenario to 1.22 percent in the high-risk scenario.
  • Some states face a greater risk of undercounts because they have large populations of historically undercounted groups. California has the greatest undercount risk, with projected 2020 undercounts ranging from 0.95 percent (low risk) to 1.98 percent (high risk). Other states at risk for serious undercount are Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Georgia, New York, and Florida.
  • The miscounts may disproportionately affect some groups more than others. Black and Hispanic/Latinx-identified individuals in the high-risk scenario could be undercounted nationally by 3.68 percent and 3.57 percent, respectively.
  • White, non-Hispanic/Latinx individuals could be overcounted nationally by 0.03 percent in the high-risk scenario. States with the greatest potential for overcounts include Vermont, West Virginia, Maine, New Hampshire, and Montana. These states have large populations of white, non-Hispanic/Latinx residents.
  • Children younger than 5, who have historically been undercounted, are at risk of being undercounted by as much as 6.31 percent in the high-risk scenario.

READ: Latinos Face Severe Underrepresentation With 2020 Census, Here’s Why That Matters

Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

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Guatemala’s President Is Going To Have To Settle The Immigration Negotiation With Trump

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Tuesday marked a new era of leadership in Guatemala as the Latin country swore in Alejandro Giammattei, a conservative doctor and former prison system director from the right-wing Vamos party. The 63-year-old won the presidency on his fourth attempt back in August with bold promises of changing a corrupt government and restoring the rule-of-law in city streets. 

“Today, we are putting a full stop on corrupt practices so they disappear from the face of this country,” Giammattei said at his swearing-in ceremony that had a five-hour delay.

His ceremony somewhat overshadowed by delays and protests against ex-President Jimmy Morales, who for four years dodged accusations of corruption. The scene of protestors throwing eggs and voicing anger at the outgoing administration was a reminder of the displeasure against the country’s deep-seated political corruption. It’s also a key reason why many are looking to Giammattei to bring change to the struggling country. 

As Giammattei takes office, there are questions on what his presidency will mean to Guatemala in the short and long term as issues over the future of an asylum deal with the United States comes into focus. 

One of the biggest issues confronting Guatemala and one that Giammattei will have to address early is the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) that was signed by Morales last July with the U.S. government. The agreement, which was highly opposed in Guatemala, lets U.S. immigration officials send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants that are requesting asylum at the U.S.-Mexican border to apply for protection here instead. There is now increasing skepticism as reports say that the U.S. wants to expand the deal to include Mexican asylum seekers as well.

Last year, there were many Guatemalans that were part of a 3,000 migrant caravan that made its way up from Latin America to the U.S. The caravan consisted of people that were looking to claim asylum and became a symbol of the growing migration crisis at the southern border. President Trump frequently attacked the caravan and eventually threatened to impose tariffs on Guatemala if it didn’t agree to the asylum deal.

According to the Guatemalan Migration Institute, “as of Friday, 128 Salvadoran and Honduran asylum seekers had been sent as part of the agreement,” with only a limited number actually applying for asylum there and others returning home. Giammattei has previously said that he’s willing to make changes to the agreement but on Tuesday said he would revisit details later. 

The country, one of Latin America’s poorest nations, is a key part of President Trump’s plan to curb illegal immigration and asylum claims. mostly from those coming to the U.S. Southern border. The issue for many living in Guatemala is how to let those seeking asylum when itself has become a major source of U.S. bound migrants. 

Poverty levels have only grown in the last 20 years and income inequality levels continue to be a big problem in the country. 

One of the big platform issues that Giammattei ran his campaign on was helping the shorten income inequality gap and poverty levels that have only grown in the last 20 years. Fifty-nine percent of Guatemalan citizens live below the poverty line and almost 1 million children under the age of 5 are believed to live with chronic malnutrition, according to the AP. 

There is also the rampant problem of street violence and cartel gangs that have had a major effect on the daily lives of many in the country. Giammattei plans to address this with reforms that include designating “street gangs as terrorist groups.”

“This is the moment to rescue Guatemala from the absurd. It is the moment to combat corruption and malnutrition,” Giammattei said on Tuesday in his first address to the country as president. “There is no peace without security, I will present a law that aims to declare street gangs for what they are – terrorist groups.”

There is hope that Giammattei will turn a new page in Guatemala that will see change come to all in the country that has faced uncertainty for years. But only time will tell if this is indeed new leadership or business as usual.

“We will bring back the peace this country so dearly needs,” Giammattei said. “We will govern with decency, with honourability, and with ethical values.”

READ: In Efforts To Double Latino Representation In Hollywood, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils New Historic Initiative

There Is No Citizenship Question In The Census 2020 But People Are Still Cautious About Answering The Survey

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There Is No Citizenship Question In The Census 2020 But People Are Still Cautious About Answering The Survey

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April 1 is officially Census Day. That means between April and the end of July you can expect someone to knock on your door and ask you a couple of questions such as “The number of people living or staying at your home” and “is your home owned or rented?” and “The sex of each person in the household.” This month, however, people are already getting notices to let them know what will be taking place in a couple of months. There are some people in the country that are not looking forward to this kind of intrusion. Some of those people are actually quite afraid of answering personal questions. 

Even though the Census 2020 will not include any citizenship questions, people are still suspicious about answering the survey at all.  

On January 10, Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, spoke in front of Congress to inform them that the Latino community is afraid of opening their doors to Census workers and answering their questions. 

“They believe there will be a citizenship question on the form despite its absence and many fear how the data will be used,” Vargas said. His entire statement was posted on Facebook. “This is exacerbated by a hostile environment toward immigrants propagated by this administration.”

But it’s not just the Latino community that is cautious about answering the Census questions but Asians too. 

“When the administration proposed to add the citizenship question without any testing, we knew right away we had a five-alarm fire … like any fire, the damage that has been done takes time to repair,” John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, also told Congress, according to NBC News

The hearing last week took place in an effort to understand why there are difficulties in getting accurate information from people living in the U.S. One of the obstacles that were discussed, aside from their fear of citizenship questions, is that Census workers are not reaching out to “hard-to-count” communities. 

“Hard-to-count communities are in every state and district, from large urban areas to rural and remote communities, including American Indian tribal lands and reservations,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told NBC News. 

So why is it important for everyone to answer the Census 2020 questions accurately?

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Some people might not truly grasp the severity of answering the Census 2020 questions. It’s not just a survey but a way to track every person living in the U.S. to get proper funding for programs, schools, and a lot more. 

“The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every ten years to count all people—both citizens and non-citizens—living in the United States,” a PBS report states. “Responding to the Census is mandatory because getting a complete and accurate count of the population is critically important. An accurate count of the population serves as the basis for fair political representation and plays a vital role in many areas of public life.”

Aside from public funding, having an accurate assessment of each individual will help in times of natural disasters and emergency responses. Federal funds are also distributed based on population. Another crucial factor in gathering accurate information is that when it comes to voting, the government understands how many representatives are needed for each district. 

While the Census has always faced issues in trying to gather the most accurate information, it was during the Trump Administration that minority communities became distrusting of information the government was requesting. 

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Since 2018, the Trump administration pushed to have a citizenship question added to the Census 2020 but got immediate pushback from virtually everyone. Even the Supreme Court ruled that a citizenship question was off the table. He still pushed for it. Several immigration organizations, however, went after Trump’s agenda and sued against his tactics. 

“President Trump is adding the citizenship question into his toxic stew of racist rants and draconian policies in order to stoke fear, undercount, and strip political power from immigrant communities,” Sarah Brannon, Managing Attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement last summer. 

Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition, added to her sentiment by saying, “A citizenship question on the U.S. census is toxic to New York’s four million immigrants and all New Yorkers, who stand to lose millions of dollars in federal aid and representation in Congress. We will use every tool at our disposal to fight for a fair and accurate count. This is our New York and we’re not going to lose a dime, or our voices, to the Trump administration in Washington D.C.”

About a month later, Trump gave up his Census fight. Yet still, people remain fearful and untrusting of government questions. But can you blame them?

READ: Latinos NEED to Count All Their Children for the 2020 Census