Albany lawyer discusses the census and how it’s affecting immigrants

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FILE – This Sunday, April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. The U.S. Census Bureau has spent much of the past year defending itself against allegations that its duties have been overtaken by politics. With a failed attempt by the Trump administration to add a citizenship question, the hiring of three political appointees with limited experience to top positions, a sped-up schedule and a directive from President Donald Trump to exclude undocumented residents from the process of redrawing congressional districts, the 2020 census has descended into a high-stakes partisan battle. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Federal funding for programs that help the nation’s most poor are directly tied to the outcome of the 2020 Census. Local cities like Cohoes and Troy have tried appealing to citizens to participate in the census after reporting low self-response rates.  

Young children, those who do not speak English, and people or families with low-income are populations that are the most difficult to count, according to the National School Boards Association. Among those hard to count populations are people who may be distrustful of the Census Bureau or Census Bureau workers visiting residents, says the U.S. Census Bureau.

These facts are the reason why it’s vital to make sure the immigrant population participates in the census but what also may lead to the immigrant population being undercounted, says Whiteman, Osterman and Hanna LLP Immigration Law Attorney, Cianna Freeman. She says legal actions against the immigrant population has made them feel unsafe and untrusting of census workers.

Most immigrants (77%) are in the country legally, while almost a quarter are unauthorized, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on census data adjusted for undercount. In 2017, 45% were naturalized U.S. citizens.

Some 27% of immigrants were permanent residents and 5% were temporary residents in 2017. Another 23% of all immigrants were unauthorized immigrants. From 1990 to 2007, the unauthorized immigrant population more than tripled in size – from 3.5 million to a record high of 12.2 million in 2007. By 2017, that number had declined by 1.7 million, or 14%. There were 10.5 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2017, accounting for 3.2% of the nation’s population.

PEW Research

The Census Bureau extended the census deadline to the end of October saying the coronavirus pandemic was going to slow the process in April. They moved the deadline to September 30 in August to meet a December 31 count deadline.  

Last week a federal judge in Florida told the Census Bureau they had to keep counting until the end of October. A California federal judge agreed and suspended the December 31 deadline. But the Bureau made a statement saying the census would collect counts through October 5.  

Freeman discusses the federal judge rulings on census deadlines

Watch: Freeman further explains how a census undercount affects federal funding

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