It’s no small undertaking to get as many of Colorado’s 5.6 million residents as possible to respond to the 2020 census. The results of the national survey determine how much federal funding Colorado receives, the redrawing of political maps and the number of Colorado congressional seats.
Cristobal Garcia with the city of Greeley said many residents, regardless of background, are unaware of how important it is, which is why he said the recent decision by the Supreme Court to effectively block a question about citizenship is “good news.”
“We’re looking for an accurate and complete count of our communities,” he said. “It’s not a politicized effort.”
In 2018, the Trump administration proposed reintroducing the question, “is this person a citizen of the United States?” to the 2020 census. The effort has faced strong opposition by legal experts who argue the question would impact results of the national headcount.
As a part of the Complete Count Campaign in Weld County and Colorado, Garcia works to inform residents about the importance of the census, especially among those who may be unfamiliar with the census process and less likely to participate.
He said news surrounding the citizenship question has already stoked feelings of suspicion and doubt, and not just within communities of immigrants or those who may lack legal documentation.
“But also just people of color in general, who said ‘why would I fill this out? And why do you want to know that specifically from me?’” he said.
As of Wednesday, both the Justice Department and the Commerce Department have stated in writing that the next census will not include a question on citizenship, according to the New York Times. However the president soon took to Twitter stating that these reports are “fake.”
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2019
The Census Bureau has stated that to meet deadlines, the census form must begin printing no later than July 1, 2019. According to reports from the New York Times, the court battles over including the citizenship question could take weeks, if not months.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the first name of Cristobal Garcia and his place of employement.