Civil Rights Leaders Call on Congress to Ensure an Accurate, Transparent, Equitable Census
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2020
Charmaine Riley, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, [email protected], 202.548.7166
Kevin Perez-Allen, NALEO Educational Fund, [email protected], 714.499.4481
Teresa Candori, National Urban League, [email protected]
Michelle Boykins, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, [email protected], 202.296.2300 x 0144
Lycia Maddocks, National Congress of American Indians, [email protected], 202.466.7767
WASHINGTON– While the Trump administration rushed to end data collection early last week, the 2020 Census is not over. Civil rights leaders and census experts held a press briefing Tuesday in partnership with Ethnic Media Services to urge Congress to pass an extension to the statutory deadlines for the Census Bureau’s data for apportionment and redistricting by 120 days each, as the Trump administration requested last April. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate to extend these deadlines to provide the Census Bureau the time it needs to ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census.
A recording of the press call can be found here.
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said: “There’s a domino effect at play. If you erase people from the census, the tentpoles of our democracy like federal programs and fair elections start to fall. Congressional action is the only way to safeguard the data — and our democracy.”
“The fight for a fair and accurate Census is not over. Congress must assert its constitutional authority over the decennial count,” said Arturo Vargas, chief executive officer at NALEO Educational Fund. “The U.S. Senate should follow the House’s HEROES Act (H.R. 6800), which extends the December 31, 2020 deadline to deliver the apportionment counts, to April 30, 2021. We are tremendously concerned about the lasting effects on the Latino community of a politicized, truncated, and disaster-plagued 2020 Census.”
“Everyone in America, regardless of political affiliation or ethnicity, should be deeply troubled by the President’s attempts to undermine and misrepresent data from the 2020 Census,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC. “The decennial census sets the standard for data quality and should be something the U.S. Census Bureau can achieve without interference. Instead, the Trump administration has made countless efforts to sabotage the census to erase historically undercounted communities. The Supreme Court decision may have ended the census count but our push for accurate data continues, not only for Asian Americans but for all Americans.”
“President Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment process represents a brazen attempt to amend the Constitution of the United States through a simple memo. The American people are being cheated of their Constitutional right to a representative government, the fair distribution of federal funds and an accurate Census. The National Urban League will continue to resist these unlawful efforts to erase our community through a manipulated census,” said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League president and CEO.
Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians, said: “The Census Bureau normally needs 5 months to process the data and now, there’s less than three months to produce the apportionment counts and the time to produce the redistricting file is decreased significantly, meaning that many American Indian and Alaska Natives may not be accurately represented in the data. Data is very important to tribal leaders in managing their communities. There has never been enough meaningful tribal consultation that is deserved in these kinds of situations. This country has an obligation to communicate with Indian Country, hear their concerns, meet the challenges, and find solutions that make sure we’re not left behind or continue to be invisible.”
“In order to allow stakeholders to assess the 2020 Census’ fitness for use, the Census Bureau should produce the quality indicators recommended by the American Statistical Association,” said John Thomspon, former director of the US Census Bureau.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit civilrights.org. You can find out more about the Census Counts campaign at censuscounts.org.
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-partisan, non-profit organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice | AAJC (Washington, DC), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice | Chicago.
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit www.ncai.org