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County Learns Respond to Top Court’s

Standing on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, dozens of people chant “Our Community Counts! Our Community Belongs!” followed by speeches from immigrant advocates, elected officials, and allies, Thursday, June 27. Photo courtesy of Alameda County Census.

By Oakland Post

Over 120 local community and elected leaders rallied June 27 to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to block the citizenship question on Census 2020, which was proposed by the Trump Administration.

Participants included labor leaders, teachers, librarians, affordable housing leaders, immigrant rights advocates, health care providers, the Al­ameda County Community Foodbank, Urban Strategies Council, Greenlining Institute, and representatives from the Public Defender’s office.

The census coalition pledges to remain vigilant if the Census Bureau and Trump Adminis­tration choose to continue their pursuit of including the ques­tion, to inform Alameda Coun­ty residents about the Census process. The Alameda County Complete Count Committee will spend the remaining 251 days until the Census begins educating and empowering everyone about the impor­tance of getting counted

The Supreme Court, acting Thursday, found that the Cen­sus Bureau’s rationale to add a citizenship question (“for the purposes of enforcing the Voting Rights Act”) was “con­trived” and in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court so the Census Bureau can pres­ent its justification at a future hearing. However, the Bureau claims to have a print deadline of July 1, 2019, so it is unclear whether the Census Bureau will wait until the fall to or will commence in printing next week without the question.

Standing on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Courthouse, dozens of people chanted “Our Community Counts! Our Community Be­longs!” followed by speeches from immigrant advocates, elected officials, and allies.

The County of Alameda has established a Complete Count Committee to ensure an ac­curate count of its residents. The Committee will work with trusted messengers of immi­grant communities to convey the importance of the Census and specifically to dispel the myths and fear caused by the proposed citizenship question.

Outreach efforts will include workshops in multiple lan­guages, Questionnaire Assis­tance Centers throughout Al­ameda County, Census Weeks at schools and colleges, and more. The 2020 Census can be completed online, via mobile device, by phone, and on paper.

A number of leaders in the county weighed in on the Su­preme Court decision.

“This was an unnecessary question designed to threaten and intimidate our immigrant communities who rightfully feel that the federal government would use this data against them,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

“I will continue to fight to ensure that we have a census that meets the constitutional requirement for an accounting of all individuals regardless of citizenship – and to ensure that our immigrant neighbors are treated with dignity, compas­sion, and respect.”

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan said, “The citi­zenship question was a direct attack on immigrant commu­nities intended solely to ignite fear and deter immigrant com­munities from participating in the Census.”

Added County Supervisor Nate Miley, “We have approxi­mately 247,000 immigrants in Alameda County and we need the Census to be accessible to every single one of them. Next spring, we’ll open Question­naire Assistance Centers in many neighborhoods and our partners will host workshops in multiple languages.”

Said Emma Paulino, senior organizer of Faith in Action East Bay, “The Census is used to distribute billions of dollars to Alameda County. For every single person not counted, we lose nearly $10,000 over a de­cade for our community. That means billions of dollars are at stake. An undercount will re­duce housing units for low-in­come working families.”

This article originally appeared in the Oakland Post.

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