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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Community Groups, Local and State Government, and Community Members Urged to Oppose Citizenship Data Collection

U.S. Census Bureau Opens Public Comment Period For Proposed Request of Administrative Records Nationwide to Build Citizenship Database 

Albuquerque, N.M.– The Center for Civic Policy (CCP) is urging community groups, community members, local and state government, to provide public comment on the U.S. Census Bureau’s proposal to collect citizenship data through administrative records requests across the country.

On March, 2018, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Department, Wilbur Ross, first sent a directive to the U.S. Census Bureau to collect citizenship information, as part of their 2020 Census work, to provide census block level citizenship voting age population for states as part of data provided by the bureau. This order was later exposed to be part of a plan by late Thomas Hoffeler, a GOP redistricting strategist, who concluded using Citizen Voting-Age Population data for redrawing voting districts would be “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites”.

“It is clear there is a coordinated effort to deny political representation for communities of color throughout the country,” said James Povijua, policy director for the Center for Civic Policy. “The proposed citizenship database is nothing more than a tool to directly and maliciously skew redistricting processes in 2021.”

Since last December, the census bureau had been “collecting feedback from state redistricting officials” on what information was needed for redistricting after 2020, according to an article by NPR. Surprisingly, according to a recent bureau regulatory document filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, no state requested citizenship data for redistricting.

With New Mexico facing many challenges to obtain an accurate and fair count on 2020, any effort to obtain citizenship information will elevate fears amongst immigrant and refugee communities, and communities of color, directly impacting the outcome of New Mexico’s 2020 census count. Currently, over $7 billion in federal funding for schools, roads, hospitals, and public programs rely on accurate census data. NM receives an estimated $3,000 for every New Mexican who is counted between April and July of 2020.

“At the Center for Civic Policy we believe every family and child in New Mexico must have access to all the funding and resources they need and deserve to make sure they succeed,” said Oriana Sandoval, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy. “While we continue to focus on ensuring NM has an accurate census count, we will also work tirelessly to make sure no person is deprived from their political representation through the redistricting process in 2021. The only way NM can be a leader and move forward is by making sure every person in our state is part of the decision-making process.”

Public comment on Census Bureau’s proposed information collection on citizenship is available online and comments can also be sent directly to PRAcomments@doc.gov by Nov. 15.

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