Robust Census Appropriation with No Citizenship Question

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

MCF is calling upon Minnesota's Congressional delegation to fully fund the 2020 Census with a robust 2020 appropriation, likely $8 or double the 2019 appropriation. We are also calling upon the state's members of congress to take steps to oppose adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. 

2019 Appropriation. MCMP appreciates Congress’ recent action to approve the 2019 budget. The authorized appropriation matched what advocates proposed. There is no time to lose as we prepare for the 2020 Census. We encourage members of Minnesota’s Congressional delegation to encourage the Census Bureau to use these resources to expand field operations.  Specifically, rather than investing in the time-consuming process of opening more area offices, we encourage a focus on expanding the number of questionnaire assistance centers. Also, we know the Census Bureau is having difficulty hiring staff. Some of this has to do with the low unemployment rate. However, we also hear from community advocates that the Bureau’s hiring process is cumbersome and hard to navigate. It is important that the Census Bureau is able to attract a 2020 Census workforce that is reflective of the harder to count communities that do not tend to respond to initial requests to participate in the census.

2020 Appropriation  MCMP supports full and robust funding in fiscal year 2020 for the 2020 Census.  This is it!  2020 is the year when materials are produced, staff is hired and advertising and communication dollars get spent. Do not be surprised if you see the 2020 appropriation request to be at least double the 2019 appropriation.

We ask members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation to join in sign-on letters that call for 2020 appropriations that allow the Census Bureau to effectively carry out the decennial census Constitutional obligation, and to oppose efforts to “raid” Census funding to support other legislative initiatives. This is our only chance to get it right; there is no do-over.  The census needs full and robust funding in 2020.

Citizenship Question  MCMP opposes adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Constitutionally-designated purpose for the census is to count every person. Federal rules and regulations and professional practices in the U.S. Census Bureau establish processes for adding questions that ensure we are not asking Americans to give more information than what is needed, and that we do not ask questions in ways that discourage participation. The recent recommendation to add the citizenship question did not follow these rules and regulations or professional practices, and does not meet the test of asking only essential questions (i.e. the information federal agencies need cannot be gathered in other ways) and, most importantly, will result in people choosing not to participate in the census.

We ask members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation to join as co-authors of the IDEA Act, and to take other actions to defer inclusion of a citizenship question on the census form in 2020.

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