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 The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on June 27, 2019, that the 2020 U.S. Census cannot — at least for now — ask respondents about their citizenship status was lauded by the president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors who hopes an ultimate resolution will ease fears in local immigrant communities.

“The County, our cities and all the partners who have been diligently preparing for the Census keenly understood how just the possibility of a citizenship question had many of our neighbors concerned and even this ruling may not immediately serve to calm that worry,” Supervisor Carole Groom, president of the Board of Supervisors, said. “But we also know how important it is that everyone be counted to ensure our communities and families receive their fair share of government funding and political representation.” 

Groom emphasized that all U.S. Census data is strongly protected and individual responses cannot be shared with anyone, including immigration enforcement and other government agencies. 

This morning, the Supreme Court prevented the addition of the question but asked for more information on the Trump Administration’s reasons for adding it to the 2020 Census. The matter was sent back to the lower courts and the possiblity of the question's inclusion remains. With the citizenship question unsettled, the risk that fears will spur an undercount remain and County officials say much is at stake.

The federal government uses Census data to allocate $675 billion per year in funding to state and local governments. In California, the loss is estimated at $1,000 in federal funds for each individual uncounted in 2020, according to a George Washington University analysis used by Census advocates. That money provides critical programs for San Mateo County residents including healthcare, education, housing and transportation. The Census is also used to determine the number of Congressional seats each state receives and where political district lines are drawn. 

The San Mateo County Census Team, directed by the County’s Office of Community Affairs, is working closely with civic, nonprofit, business and other community leaders to ensure all residents will be counted in April 2020. The Complete Count Committee has formed eight strategy work groups and will next create community action teams across the county to support local communities standing up for the count. 

For more information on the Census 2020 in San Mateo County, including events and ways to get involved, visit www.smccensus.org

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