On July 21, President Trump released a memo stating that undocumented communities will not be taken into account when apportioning Congressional representation between the states, an attempt to shift political representation away from places with large immigrant communities by defying the census’ constitutional mandate to ensure that each state is represented in proportion to their population. The decennial census, a count that determines each state’s congressional seats, Electoral College votes, and share of an estimated $1.5 trillion federal tax dollars for Medicare, Medicaid, education and other public services, requires all “persons” in the United States to be counted, regardless of citizenship status. The constitutionality of the memo is already being challenged in court and census operations will continue to include all persons in the 2020 census, regardless of immigration status.
Adding to fears of an undercount in Texas, the U.S. Census Bureau released a statement this week announcing that all counting efforts for the 2020 census will end on September 30, a month earlier than previously announced. The earlier deadline is heightening risks that Texas will be undercounted and that some Texans, particularly those in hard to count communities, will be missed in the count as the pandemic continues to harm their communities. In response, four former U.S. Census Bureau directors have issued a statement urging Congress to extend legal deadlines for 2020 census results and require counting through Oct. 31st to avoid “seriously incomplete enumerations in many areas across the country.” With less than two months to go under the current plan, only 57.9% of households in Texas have responded, with an overwhelming majority of Texas counties currently at self-response rates far below 2010 response rates, despite known population growth.
If you have not yet filled out the 2020 census you can self-respond online or over the phone in English by dialing 844-330-2020 or in Spanish at 844-468-2020. Paper census forms arrived in the mail from April 8-16, which can be returned via mail once completed