The 2020 census has been extended nationwide through October 31, blocking the appeal of the Trump Administration.
With the Trump Administration’s efforts to scale back the deadline, the would-be census deadline of September 30 has come and gone. Last week, the Administration’s attempt to change the end date of the census was blocked by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in the National District of California. As of now, the 2020 census has been extended through October 31 nationwide.
Now more than ever before, there has been an extra push by cities and organizations to complete the census.
“We are at a time in history where it is more important than ever for Newark’s population to be accurately counted, so that our city and its residents can receive their fair share of federal aid and support, and that we are properly represented in the U.S. Congress and State Legislature,” said Newark, New Jersey Mayor Ras Baraka.
Like several other cities with major sports arenas, in Newark, the Prudential Sports Arena will serve as a polling site and a location for residents to drop off their census forms. The campaigns across the country aim to thwart the number of disruptions in gathering census information.
It all began with COVID-19, a virus has no respect for census deadlines. The Washington Post reports that in March, the coronavirus disrupted the agency’s data collecting field operations. Employees affected by the virus, caused the census bureau, to consider scaling back the deadline. Assemblymember Patricia Fahy tweeted, “The Trump Administration is ending U.S. Census Bureau outreach early on September 30 — making it even more crucial.”
Under the pressure of a fast approaching deadline, the Trump Administration took a shot at changing the dynamic in which the census is counted. President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce, calling for the exclusion of illegal immigrants from being counted in the 2020 census, contrary to the purpose of the count.
Vice President candidate, Senator Kamala Harris tweeted, “Donald Trump is once again trying to weaponize the census to scare immigrant communities for his own political purposes.”
The first ruling issued by U.S. District Lucy Koh, suspended September 30 as the amended end date for counting the census results. The Trump Administration appealed a federal court order for it to abjure last minute changes to the 2020 census schedule, but it was rejected by the appeals court, as reported by NPR.
So why go through all this trouble? In the words of Senator Mazie Hinoro’s tweet “Census data = funding for community for community programs.” As reported by the N.Y. Times, many politicians care about the person who runs the census bureau.
Mandated by the Constitution and conducted by the Department of Commerce, funds appropriated from Census data touch nearly every aspect of life in the US, including education, housing, healthcare and all other federal aid that flows into the city. Every ten years, seats are allocated and district lines are drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local boards. Additionally the census determines how much federal assistance is given to states, localities, families, schools, housing, health care services and business investment.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted, “Action is required. A rushed census would harm every state.” Indeed the choice to end data collection early could lead to inaccuracies among communities of color, people in rural areas as well as immigrants which equals unequal representation and lack in funding. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, the African American population has been historically undercounted.
In foresight, the U.S. census released its race-ethnic population estimates ahead of the 2020 census. The data reveals that a more diverse nation is on the horizon. The Brookings Institute reports that the new estimates show that nearly four of ten Americans identify as ethnic group other than white. Moreover, the data suggests that the 2010 to 2020 decade will be the first in the nation’s history in which the white population will decline in numbers. Looking ahead, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that the white population will be the minority by 2060.
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