Lawmakers fear consequences as 2020 U.S. Census approaches

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – With the 2020 Census around the corner, lawmakers in states like California fear the serious consequences from an undercount.

“We are at a critical state. We need to make sure everyone who can be counted is counted,” Representative Judy Chu, D-California, said.

Congresswoman Judy Chu says California could lose federal funding, even congressional seats in 2020 if fear keeps non-citizens in the state from participating and being counted.

“They cannot use this information to deport anybody. These records are confidential,” Chu said.

“Certainly, I understand the distrust and the fear,” Representative Salud Carbajal, D-California, said.

California Congressman Salud Carbajal says ever since the Commerce Department proposed adding a citizenship question to the census, anxiety among non-citizens grew.

“All the memos that were issued by this administration were all political to try to create an undercount, especially within the immigrant community,” Carbajal said.

Carbajal says the citizenship question was meant to suppress the immigrant count in largely Democratic districts.

While the Supreme Court has already ruled that asking about citizenship is unconstitutional, Carbajal thinks the damage is already done.

“Sometimes it’s about trust,” Dale Kelly said.

Dale Kelly is the Chief of Field for the US Census.

She says the census is working with immigrant outreach groups to dispel rumors and encourage involvement.

“And those grassroots organizations in California are helping us to get those messages out,” Kelly said.

And on a state level, California’s putting up $187-million of its own to help in that effort.

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