Members of Arkansas Counts Respond to Supreme Court 2020 Census Decision, Call for Collective Action to Protect Resources and Political Representation for All
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (June 27, 2019) — Community representatives from across the state joined together to express their relief at today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling and reaffirm their commitment to ensuring an accurate and representative count of all Arkansans in the 2020 Census.
“Recent policies have elevated government distrust, and this proposal made Arkansas immigrants even more wary their participation in the 2020 Census could result in targeting or possible family separation,” said Mireya Reith, executive director of Arkansas United and outreach committee chair of the Arkansas Counts Complete Count Committee. “While we are grateful for today’s ruling, we celebrate with caution knowing the question may still be included and that proactive outreach efforts will be needed to overcome persistent anxiety and fear.”
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling left in doubt whether the U.S. Commerce Department will ultimately include the citizenship question in the 2020 Census. However, the majority ruling stated the Trump administration failed to adequately explain why the question should be added. Now, the U.S. Census Bureau will decide whether to delay its schedule to allow the administration to offer additional arguments for including the question.
“Arkansas Counts urges the U.S. Commerce Department to proceed with the 2020 Census without the citizenship question,” continued Reith. “It’s essential to complete a complete count—not only in Arkansas, but across the nation—and to properly prepare for April 1 Census Day.”
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families is a member of the Arkansas Counts coalition.
National civil and immigrant rights organizations estimate the citizenship question, if included, could result in as high as a 20 percent undercount in some states. Over the last two census cycles, Arkansas ranked in the top five states for its immigrant population growth. Even without a citizenship question, Springdale leaders estimate the undercount of the Marshallese population was as high as 10,000 in the 2010 Census.
According to the Arkansas State Data Center, even a 1 percent undercount in the 2020 Census could result in a loss of up to $750 million in federal funding for the state. Political representation will also be informed by the census, with profound ramifications for the redistricting process.
During this time of national attention, Arkansas Counts encourages all Arkansans to make a collective commitment to ensure everyone’s participation in the 2020 Census by both seeking representation from Hard to Count community representatives in local census complete count efforts, like immigrants, and visiting arkansasimpact.org/arkansas-counts and following Arkansas Counts on Facebook (@ARcensus2020) and Twitter (@ar_census).
About Arkansas Counts The Arkansas Counts Complete Count Committee (CCC) is comprised of a diverse network of community-based stakeholders. The CCC will hold meetings across the state until the Census is conducted in April 2020. They will discuss and coordinate action and resources to complete an accurate and representative census in Arkansas focusing on Hard to Count communities. For more information, visit arkansasimpact.org/arkansas-counts.
About Arkansas United Founded as Arkansas’s first immigrants’ rights organization in January 2012, Arkansas United organizes, advocates and identifies and facilitates services for immigrants all over the state. Arkansas United’s work ensures dignity for all Arkansans, helps Arkansas communities thrive and allows Arkansas to achieve its full potential by working through two foundational pillars: advocacy and service. Learn more at www.arkansasunited.org.