Trump recently issued an executive order aimed at discouraging immigrant communities and other hard-to-count populations from answering the census. A census undercount will inflict serious damage on our state.
According to Saturday’s Albuquerque Journal, undercounting just 1% of our population would cause New Mexico to lose $780 million of federal funding. About half of all New Mexican households have not responded to the census. Response rates from many Sandoval County’s pueblos are even lower.
The most important thing you can do to help is to fill out your census form today and encourage others in your community to do the same. Native American and Latino communities are historically among the most undercounted. If you have the opportunity, please encourage people in these communities to respond.
Everyone living in the U.S. is required to answer the census, whether you are a citizen or noncitizen and whether you are documented or undocumented. There is no citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
The Negative Impacts
If New Mexico is undercounted, we will suffer reduced federal funding for hospitals, schools, roads, and water systems among many other things. Funding for Medicare, Medicaid, direct student loans, and even adoption assistance programs will be reduced.
A census undercount puts us at risk for extra traffic congestion, school districts that don’t know how many students to expect, veterans whose health is jeopardized by hospitals built in the wrong location, and missed opportunities for entrepreneurs to start small businesses because they won’t know the full size of their customer base.
How You Can Help
To all our friends who say, “All Lives Matters,” you have a pertinent opportunity to help every New Mexican. To all my friends and supporters who believe Black Lives Matter, Native American Lives Matter, Latino Lives Matter, and the life of every single other person in New Mexico matters, you can help everyone get counted. New Mexico has a right to its fair share of federal funding for the next ten years!
To our Republican friends in New Mexico, please encourage your Republican leaders to stop taking actions to depress the census count. It will hurt you and everyone else in your community regardless of party affiliation.
Senator Tom Udall, Senator Martin Heinrich, and all of our congressional representatives are fighting for us. Please call or email their offices to give them your support and see how you can help.
We must not let Trump’s efforts to undermine the census in New Mexico succeed!
The 2020 Census: What to Expect Next
The Census Bureau begins its nonresponse follow-up operation this month. If the bureau hasn’t heard from your household, a census taker will visit to ask you the census questions in person.
Census takers are required to wear masks and socially distance when they visit your home. They will not come inside. Census takers are hired from your community, and their goal is to help everyone in your home be counted.
If a census taker comes to your home, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 844-330-2020 to speak with a Census Bureau representative.
If the census taker who visits your home does not speak your language, you may request a return visit from a census taker who does.
If you do not want a census taker to knock on your door, respond online, by phone, or by mail today. Here’s how:
- Online-Go to https://my2020census.gov
- Phone-Call 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-468-2020 (Spanish)
- Mail-Return the paper questionnaire sent to your home or left at your doorstep in the envelope provided.
Is My Census Data Confidential?
By law, the Census Bureau can use your responses only to produce statistics. The bureau is required to keep your information completely confidential and cannot share it with any other government agencies, including law enforcement or immigration officials. Anyone who violates the law is committing a federal crime punishable by prison time and a fine of up to $250,000.
New Mexico is one of the hardest-to-count states in the country. Billions of dollars are at risk. Please do your part to ensure that we receive our fair share of federal funds by responding to the 2020 Census!