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Civil Rights Groups Get Down to Business After Census Ruling

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The self-response online version of the census is set to begin on March 12, 2020. (Driftwood/AdobeStock)
The self-response online version of the census is set to begin on March 12, 2020. (Driftwood/AdobeStock)
July 1, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Civil rights advocates are moving forward with plans to promote the 2020 Census, relieved that the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the addition of a citizenship question by sending it back to the lower courts.

The fear had been that such a question would deter many immigrant families from participating.

The resulting undercount could hurt their communities because the census is used to redraw legislative districts and allocate federal funds for crucial programs such as Medicaid, WIC and Head Start.

So Emily Persaud-Zamora, executive director of the democracy advocacy group Silver State Voices, wants everyone to fill out the survey.

"It is still important to fill out the census, and a boycott should not be an option for anybody," she states.

Gov. Steve Sisolak has budgeted $5 million to ensure a complete count.

Silver State Voices has put together a coalition of 15 groups that will fan out across the state and encourage everyone to take part in the 2020 Census, which primarily will be done online and by telephone survey.

Persaud-Zamora says the Trump administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric has many citizens and legal residents afraid that their personal data on the census could be used to target undocumented family members for deportation. But she says privacy laws prevent that.

"We understand that there's that fear but it's not legally possible that they could share that information with ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, or any other entity," she stresses.

President Donald Trump now is calling for the census to be delayed while the administration tries to get the citizenship question restored, saying it is important to help enforce the Voting Rights Act.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV