Avoid the Knock, respond online at www.2020census.gov

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Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

As Census enumerators get ready to knock on doors starting August 11 to follow up on households that failed to self-respond to the Census questionnaire, and the Trump Administration issues a policy order seeking to bar undocumented immigrants from being counted for reapportionment, experts provided updates on what states and populations are being left behind, how enumerators will deal with the pandemic, and what options are available if there is a huge undercount in the EMS Conference on July 24. 

The deadline to respond for Census 2020 is now moved to Oct. 31, but the Bureau is encouraging everyone to fill out the forms as soon as possible.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Census Bureau enumerators have limited their direct contact with the public. Beginning Aug. 11, enumerators will begin visiting homes of those who have not responded to their census in an attempt to raise the response rate numbers.

Arturo Vargas, Executive Director of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) spoke on the memorandum signed by President Trump recently that says when the U.S. Census Bureau completes this year’s count, they must remove people who they believe are undocumented immigrants.

“The president wants to amend the Constitution through a memo, which is really an assault on American sensibility”, said Arturo Vargas. He added an inaccurate Census harms everybody. “Any state that does not have an accurate count of its population, for the next 10 years, will not be receiving its fair share of political representation, of resources that are distributed by the federal government every year.  He urged the Census bureau to deploy sizable enumerates to the low report areas.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, AAJC said, regardless of the immigrant status, everyone should respond to the Census by Oct 31. They can respond online, phone or by sending back the duly filled paper forms.

If you have already responded to the census, the enumerators might not even knock at your door. “At a time of high levels of mistrust of the government, with our community struggling with health concerns amid COVID-19 and reeling from racist coronavirus attacks, it is essential for the U.S. Census Bureau to take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our communities, especially as it begins to send out census takers to follow-up in person.

Marilyn E. Stephens, Assistant Regional manager for the Southern District, US Census said our message today is ‘Avoid the knock, respond now’. Only one response per home is needed.

“Some of the people have not responded, and they really should understand that it pays to participate in the census,” Stephens said. “In those funding formulas the population numbers weigh very heavily.” She listed emergency management and emergency preparedness, funding for rural hospitals and other health care systems and programs, education programs such as Title I that schools depend on, Head Start for preschoolers, Pell Grants for college students, services for seniors and veterans, transportation and school safety programs as examples.

 To complete the census online, go www.2020census.gov and click on “Respond.” The online questionnaire asks for a 12-digit census ID number, which should have been on a census invitation letter or reminder card you received last spring. But there is also an “If you do not have a Census ID” line to click on. To complete the census by phone, call 1-855-562-2020. Or, if you still have a paper census questionnaire you received in the spring, you can fill it out and mail it in. The 2020 form is shorter than many past census forms.

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