Census Bureau Spending Millions to Reassure Immigrant Communities

Census Bureau Spending Millions to Reassure Immigrant Communities

iStockphoto/Getty Images/The Fiscal Times

The Census Bureau is spending $500 million over the next five months to boost awareness of and encourage participation in the national 2020 headcount. Some of the money is being spent to reassure minority populations, especially Latinos, that census data is confidential and will not be shared with state and federal law enforcement, Politico’s Maya King reports.

Some key details:

  • Census officials are worried about an undercount in some communities, due in part to an effort by the Trump administration to include a controversial citizenship status question on the census – an effort that was rejected by the courts, but that sparked concerns in immigrant communities, nevertheless.
  • About $50 million of the total advertising budget will be direct specifically at Latinos, including ads broadcast in Spanish in sanctuary cities. “In response to citizenship question concerns, they will emphasize that anyone — including members of blended families and newcomers to the United States — is eligible to participate,” King says.
  • Other ethnic groups will specifically be targeted, as well, with $20 million being spent to encourage participation among African Americans and $40 million on ads focused on Asian Americans.
  • Some critics say the government isn’t doing enough to address fears of participation in immigrant communities. Arturo Vargas, CEO of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, says the Census Bureau ads don’t directly discuss the absence of the citizenship question. Michael Cook, chief of the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office, concedes the point, saying the “ads do not explicitly mention the citizenship question not being asked in part because they were developed prior to the resolution of the question’s status and because research led our creative agency to recommend using positive messaging about the community benefits of responding to the 2020 Census.”