NYC Kicks Off $19 Million Census Campaign to Encourage Participation by Hesitant Immigrants

New York City has launched a $19 million campaign to get an accurate count on the 2020 census. It is the biggest campaign to collect the data of any city nationwide.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) kicked off the city’s $19 million ‘Complete Count Campaign’ on the 2020 census on Jan. 14, which is focused on census-related education and organization across the city.

“New York City has started an unprecedented effort to ensure that there is a complete and accurate count. We have not seen this at any local level before,” Ian Hull, Deputy Regional Manager for the New York Regional Census, told NTD News.

According to the official city website, the move for a complete headcount in 2020 is a “historic and unprecedented” cooperative effort between the mayor’s administration and the public, private, and community-based institutions.

The census data will determine how much funding the city gets for supplemental nutrition programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and its new food stamp program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—as well as housing, healthcare, hospitals, schools, and transportation over the next decade.

“If you don’t make this type of investment your community’s going to be struggling with that lack of investment for a ten year period at least that has generational ripple effects,” Lurie Daniel Favors, General Counsel for Center for Law and Social Justice, told NTD News.

Council Member Costa Constantinides (D) said the census will determine what kind of place New York City will be in the next decade.

“Ten years ago, we lost vital federal dollars, services, and representatives because of low Census returns in western Queens,” Constantinides said. “It is crucial we make sure every resident is counted this time around because every New Yorker deserves fair representation no matter one’s status.”

In 2010, about 60 percent of New Yorkers self-registered for the census—below the national average.

According to a census fellow, New York State currently has a net outflow of tax revenue but more complete census data for New York City could help fix that.

“That will help ensure we get our fair share of the dollars that flow out come back into us,” Meeta Anand, Census 2020 senior fellow at the New York immigration coalition, told NTD News.

The census bureau had proposed to put a citizenship question on the form, but Hull said that wouldn’t be the case when the census comes out on April 1.

“There is absolutely no question about citizenship on the census,” he said about a question that has had some members of immigrant communities hesitate to fill out the census.

Attorney General William Barr said July 2019 that the Trump administration had “a legally available path” to putting the citizenship question on the census despite the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily block the addition of the question, The Epoch Times reported.

“We have to earn their trust and get them to believe that they have nothing to lose and nothing to fear by completing the census,” Debbie Almontaser, co-founder of Yemeni American Merchant’s Association, told NTD News.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on July 11, 2019, that requires all federal agencies to share information on citizens and non-citizens with the Department of Commerce, according to The Epoch Times.

Proponents of de Blasio’s campaign contend that having an accurate count of the population will ensure that all members of the community get proper representation, as New York doesn’t want to lose any congressional seats.

With reporting by Kevin Hogan.