The 2020 U.S. Census is already facing its challenges, activists fear people will not respond over concerns their personal information could be shared with other federal agencies, although the Census Bureau staff and its local partners assure the information remains confidential.
It is a population count of the entire country done every ten years, it is how the founding fathers decided to keep tabs on the country’s growing needs.
Patricia Ramos is a media specialist with the Los Angeles Regional Census Center, she said the data collected determine how federal money is split throughout the country.
Ramos said, “Roads, for health care for education, those are all important and data from the U.S. Census goes to that.”
The count is as old as the country, but this year, fears grew among immigrant communities, the fear that their personal information may go to agencies like I.C.E. or border patrol.
A proposal to include a citizenship question raised concerns over people’s privacy, and immigrant activists began to question its intention.
The United States Supreme Court shot-down the white house’s idea.
Ramos said, “The U.S. Census by federal law is protecting the information by all respondents and the information will not be shared with any other agency.”
The local grassroots organizations like Alianza Coachella Valley are also tasked with sharing the importance to themselves with East Coachella Valley communities.
The organization Executive Director, Silvia Paz, said, “Us as community organizations have an added layer of responsibility to inform our residents about why the census matters and that their information is confidential.”
They said now more than ever it is important to participate in the 2020 Census, for homeless people it determines housing needs, and for a growing Coachella Valley, it could mean more schools and hospitals as well as representation in congress.
Ramos said, “If people do not respond back to the census it could also lose seats, so it is important for them to respond so that we can be represented in Washington the way we need to be.”
The 2020 U.S. Census Day will be on April 1, it will be the first time people can participate online.