Sara Lonardo

Issued July 31, 2020

SEIU’s Henry: Every person needs to be counted in the 2020 census

President Henry's Statement on the 2020 Census


WASHINGTON—SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement in response to reports the Trump administration is cutting the 2020 Census door knocking a month short:

“Any decision to cut short the amount of time the Census Bureau dedicates to ensuring a thorough and fair counting is a blatant attack on communities of color. This is one more data point in a series of coordinated attempts to suppress the voice of Black, brown, Asian Pacific Islanders and Indigenous people. With less time door knocking, the Census Bureau will have to rely on methods that traditionally undercount Black, Latinx, immigrant, and refugee communities.

“If you’re not counted then you’re not represented. The Trump administration knows this and has attempted to weaponize the Census, first by attempting to ask about immigration status, then by excluding undocumented immigrants, now by shutting down a month early. Recent data indicates that communities of color response rates are already trailing behind white responses. We should be making every effort to increase those rates, not drive them down. We are facing a challenged census already -- and in the midst of a pandemic, we should not be politicizing apolitical functions of the federal government. It’s outrageous that the Trump administration is seeking to disenfranchise, instill fear in and erase entire communities from the narrative of America. 

“The last four months have made it crystal clear how important it is to have a government and national leadership who care about making sure traditionally underrepresented voices are heard. Congress should make clear that it fully expects and supports a robust and thorough counting that is fair and accurate. They need to denounce President Trump’s dangerous leadership and Senate Republicans’ plan to rush the Census process, which is part of an effort to silence people they do not agree with. Working people see right through this attempt to divide us and will make their voices heard at the ballot box this November.”