Latinx event debunks myths of 2020 US Census

Matt Karambelas, Managing Editor

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Who is considered an American citizen during the United States Census time? What is true and false about the US Census? The US Census has always been a trying time for citizens to commit their personal information to a count, where many don’t know where that information is going or to whom it’s going.

On Oct. 2, 2019, Elgin Community College had a Hispanic Heritage month event bringing individuals together to talk about this exact question that has been in the news recently.

This event allowed for ECC students in the morning and then Spanish-speaking individuals where English isn’t their first language in the evening, to learn why this year’s Census is too important to miss. The two sessions each had speakers and community leaders from the area to provide information and debunk myths that many in the Latino/Hispanic communities have regarding the 2020 US Census.

A little history about the United States Census. The first US Census was taken back in 1790 with the secretary of state Thomas Jefferson recording the population of the US at that time. Since then, there have been 22 federal completed US census counts. The Census is taken every decade, or every 10 years, and records the population of the US to the best of the federal government’s best ability. There are local censuses done by the state’s local municipalities but the US federally completed census is what tallies all American citizens.

The US Census counts citizens residing in US dwellings or residences in the nation. The count is now done using a mix of traditional and modern technologies to complete the count. The US Census Bureau is the federal department that handles the count for the US Census.

The US Census, according to the US Census Bureau website, when the count is completed then determines the billions of dollars funneled to whichever states need the funding.

The most recent issue for the 2020 US Census is the debate over the question of citizenship and who is a US citizen. This is the main issue regarding the current state of the upcoming 2020 US Census. If the question of American citizenship is on the US Census it would disregard people in the United States that may not have US citizenship at the time of the count.

The US Federal Government will not use any information provided on the 2020 US Census according to the United States Census Bureau. The US Census Bureau also states anyone who is asking you questions for the 2020 US Census is bound by law to keep your information confidential. Everything about you is kept anonymous and just used for statistical purposes. All people being questioned are allowed to ask questions to the Census taker about the questions for the Census.

ECC’s Latinx Census 2020 event went over these topics and more in the morning talk and in the Spanish-only version for the evening talk. The evening talk had the same community speakers that came to the event as the morning session for the students at ECC. Attorney Melissa Barbara-Guzman and Karla Jimenez spoke at the event to inform and educate students and surrounding Latino/Hispanic families of the 2020 US Census.

“Within our current political climate, our Latinx community has been put on the forefront of important issues such as immigration reform and the upcoming Census 2020,” said Vincent Cascio, co-chair of the Latinx Heritage Month Committee. “We wanted to create events that will serve to inform and provide awareness about the importance of being counted as well as showcase the resilience and strength of our community.”

The question on everyone’s mind regarding the 2020 US Census is if the American citizenship question will not be on the questionnaire taken by individuals for the census. At the beginning of July 2019, the Supreme Court ruled to not include the citizenship question on the questionnaire. Cascio had information to say about how they presented this to make sure individuals at the Latinx event were not scared of submitting the truth with their copy of the census.

“Sometime in June or July of this year, the Federal Judge ruled the question of American citizenship will not be put on the upcoming 2020 US census,” Cascio said. “This will allow the correct representation of all individuals in Elgin and surrounding areas to get the funding they need.”

The US Census is used to be an accurate representation of so many things for your community. It assigns more representation where needed the most. It gives more federal funding to the areas of the states that need it the most. The Latinx event here at ECC pointed out where we are currently with our political climate, it’s even more important to know why certain activities like the US Census are taken every decade.

The fears behind many of the misconceptions of the US Census just require a little more questioning and research on the part of the average citizen. All the information regarding the 202 US Census and the information I used for this article was sourced at the United States Census Bureau website. If you want to find more information about the US Census here is the link for the US Census Bureau’s website, https://www.census.gov/