LOS ANGELES, CA — Yesterday, Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) joined the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund in hosting a telephone conference call to discuss the 2020 Census with representatives of state and local governments, agencies, and non-profit organizations.

The call focused on the Trump administration’s efforts to add an untested citizenship question to the 2020 Census – a move experts fear will decrease response rates among immigrant communities. Congressman Gomez gave an update on legislative strategies to block the administration’s efforts and heard from representatives of California’s Census 2020 Department regarding how the state is preparing for the question if it is included.

“With millions in federal dollars for roads, schools, public safety, and health care in jeopardy, the well-being of my constituents depends on a fair and accurate 2020 Census count,” said Congressman Gomez. “The Trump administration’s actions to suppress the voices of our communities will rob states like California of our rightful federal funding and representation. This is nothing more than retribution for our ideological differences. I’m proud to be working with organizations and agencies across California to push back against the president’s citizenship question and ensure that every person in our country is counted.”

“The addition of an untested citizenship question to the Census 2020 questionnaire and a lack of adequate funding for the Census Bureau to carry out a robust outreach campaign to hard-to-count population groups have placed the upcoming decennial count in serious jeopardy,” said Giovany Hernandez, NALEO Educational Fund Regional Census Campaign Manager, Los Angeles. “Given the importance of Census 2020 in distributing billions of dollars in federal funding and the allocation of political power to communities across the country for the next 10 years, we cannot afford to have millions of Latinos and other Americans missed in the nation’s decennial count. Now is the time for congressional leadership from both sides of the aisle to act and provide the Bureau with the clarity it needs to execute the 2020 Census by removing the citizenship question once and for all.”

“Everybody counts in America, no matter their zip code, birthplace, race, or income,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “My office is leading outreach efforts alongside a diverse group of partners and stakeholders to ensure that people of color, immigrant households, low-income families, and all Angelenos are represented in the 2020 Census. A full, fair, and accurate count is what the Constitution demands and our communities deserve, and any steps to depress participation run against our nation’s values and are fundamentally un-American.”

“California’s unique diversity, its density and its sheer size present significant challenges to a complete and accurate count in the 2020 Census,” said Ditas Katague, Director of California Complete Count – Census 2020. “Falling short of a complete count could cost the State billions of dollars in federal funding and Congressional representation. That is why the Governor’s Office and State Legislature have partnered to finance and coordinate a massive outreach and communication campaign that is built on collaboration among the state, local and Tribal governments, community-based  organizations and groups ranging from librarians and educators to Congressional offices,”

“Nielsen views the census as vital for businesses,” said Joseph Fortson, Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Public Policy at Nielsen. “An accurate census count encourages investment in numerous communities by recognizing the positive impact diverse populations have on our economy.”

“Recent Census Bureau research shows that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities are the least likely to participate in the 2020 Census, having both low levels of familiarity with the census and significant concerns about the confidentiality of response.” said Daniel Ichinose, Demographic Research Project Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. “Coupled with considerable gaps in language assistance and concerns about the citizenship question, our communities face real barriers to participation. Today’s dialogue was a critical step in engaging stakeholders and elevating the visibility of a critical issue that often doesn’t receive the attention it deserves.”

“The Latino Community Foundation considers Congressman Jimmy Gomez one of its strongest partners to ensure a fair and accurate count of all people in the next census, especially Latinos,” said Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, CEO of the Latino Community Foundation. “We continue to stand alongside him, as we combat the fear caused by a citizenship question, and push forward to ensure all residents understand the fundamental role the census plays in our daily lives.”

“Mi Familia Vota is dedicated to ensuring that the Latino and immigrant community is counted in the upcoming census,” said Samuel Molina, California State Director of Mi Familia Vota. “We can do this if we work together to formulate strategic plans and elevate this issue within Congress as well as within our community. An accurate count is paramount to the success of California and our nation.”

Congressman Gomez’s 2020 Census conference call was attended by:

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund
Office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra
Office of Supervisor Hilda Solis
Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti
Alliance for a Better Community
California Calls
California Complete Count Census 2020
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
County of Los Angeles
Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC)
Equality California
Inland Empowerment
Latino Community Foundation
Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office
Los Angeles County Counsel
Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission (LA NAIC)
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor
Mi Familia Vota
Miguel Contreras Foundation

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