U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela (D-Brownsville) and Vicente Gonzalez, (D-McAllen) urged U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham to continue the U.S. Census count through October 31 as originally planned.
The U.S. Census Bureau announced earlier this week it is ending all counting efforts for the 2020 census on Sept. 30, a month shorter than previously announced.
The lawmakers say response rates in South Texas have been particularly low compared to the national response rate in part because of the pandemic.
In a letter to Dillingham, the congressmen detailed in their letter why these counts are so important for their districts:
“A four-week cut in the self-response period and NRFU would further exacerbate differences in response rates between communities of color and predominantly white communities. In the last six months America’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the ongoing pandemic of systemic racial inequity to the forefront. A complete 2020 Census that includes an accurate count of all communities would help combat these ongoing health and economic disparities by providing communities with the resources they are entitled to. Specifically, in our districts, the impact of COVID-19 has been more severe now than in March. An accurate 2020 Census will provide critical resources that are essential for the well-being and safety of those in my community.”
Vela adds the Trump administration caused significant fear throughout the Latino community when it attempted to include citizenship status questions to the Census questionnaire.
The full text of the letter is available below and here: