The deepening Covid-19 crisis has exposed the particular vulnerabilities of communities of color, who have limited or compromised access to social support and relief systems. Often hidden in our society, immigrant Latinxs are among the most impacted. This underscores the importance of the 2020 decennial Census and its long-term impact on the Latinx community.
Immigrants Rights. The U.S Constitution calls for actual enumeration, meaning all people living in the United States must be counted, which includes our immigrant community. An accurate census allows us to rebuild a platform for comprehensive immigration reform and to effectively advocate for immigrant rights.
Voting Rights. The undercounting of Latinx communities poses serious problems for political representation and proper disbursal of federal funding over the coming decade. Latinxs already face significant barriers to equal participation in the political process, preventing many Latinxs and families from exercising their constitutional right to vote. When Latinx’s are undercounted in the Census, their communities are accorded fewer congressional representatives and other state and local political districts. It is critical that we know how many eligible voters there are in the United States. Citizen Voting Age Population by Race and Ethnicity information helps allocate non-English ballots – for English proficiency limited voters. The Census also reveals how many Latinos live in a given area, informing post-Census redistricting.
Puerto Rico. Accurate Census numbers would have given us a better handle on the true impact of 2017’s Hurricane Maria and how to help the people of Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, we still don’t have adequate information on the percentage of people were impacted by the natural disaster. Over 700 billion dollars of government funding distributed annually are decided by census data, impacting FEMA’s response. An accurate Census count will ensure that the people of Puerto Rico can access the resources they need in the decade ahead.
Education. Census counts are critically important to the allocation of educational resources The Latinx population in the U.S. has the youngest demographic and is often concentrated in communities with scarce or lagging resources. An accurate census count will help us move toward more equitable allocation of resources. Census data also helps us challenge educational institutions that consistently fail to enroll historically disadvantaged minority groups at level proportionate to the population.
Criminal Justice Reform. Census data is crucial to understanding how policing and criminal justice policies are disproportionately skewed toward punishing and incarcerating communities of color. This data helped us successfully challenge the NYPD's stop-and-frisk program that allowed police officers to patrol thousands of private apartment buildings across New York City. It also helps us understand and respond to the intersection of immigration and criminal justice policies – crimmigration – and its harms against Latinxs.
LatinoJustice is committed to ensuring that Latinx Communities Count. And, for us, that means asking our communities to complete the Census, equipping our communities to engage in civic processes post-Census, ensuring that Latinxs receive a proportionate allocation of resources post-Census, and defending the right of every eligible Latinx voter to exercise the vote. So, if you haven’t already done so, complete the Census today – and encourage your friends and family to complete it as well. Help us illuminate the true scope of Latinx presence in the United States.
To learn more about our work, check out the rest of this site, including our list of COVID-19.related resouces.