With looming concerns over how the Trump administration will handle census data collection, Mayor Jim Kenney signed an executive order putting in place Philly Counts 2020,a new office to help facilitate Philly’s participation in the census, with a Complete Counts Committee to assist it.
Earlier this month, a federal judge denied the addition of President Trump’s proposed question to the 2020 census that asked whether or not people were citizens of the United States.
President Trump’s well-known rhetoric blaming undocumented immigrants for social problems has raised concerns for many people who have sought refuge in Philadelphia as a sanctuary city.
Kenney wants Philadelphians of all backgrounds to feel safe in participating in the census and believes in the agency census data has in shaping lives. “Don’t let Donald Trump scare you,” Kenney said. “A complete and accurate count will ensure that Philadelphia receives its fair share of funds for federal supports and services and appropriate congressional representation — both of which are critical to the health and prosperity of our city.”
Councilman Derek S. Green, Esq. agrees with Kenney on encouraging Philadelphians to participate in the census and wants people to know that their private information will not be shared. “As Mayor Kenney stated and as the representative from the census bureau office stated, all of the information you provide for the census is totally confidential,” Green said.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars come to the city of Philadelphia based on our population,” Green added. “So if we don’t participate in the census, we’re undercounted and then we get under resourced and other communities throughout the nation and throughout the state should get the dollars that we should get.”
Green is aware of the concerns people have following Trump’s efforts to alter the census and has responded accordingly. “What the Trump administration is trying to do is scare people,” Green said. “That’s why I introduced a resolution in City Council to challenge commerce director Wilbur Ross on not including a citizenship question in our census. That’s now being fought in courts [nationwide]. We believe that will be won and that question will not be on the census.”
Stephanie Reid is the executive director for Philly Counts 2020 and sees the census as an opportunity for communities to help build resources and employ people that represent the communities they live in.
“The census bureau will be hiring more than 3,000 temporary workers to support the 2020 census,” Reid says. “It’s imperative that the census workers come from communities where they work. We want every Philadelphian to know: The census jobs may be temporary, but they’re good paying jobs that offer resume-boosting experience.”
With $3 billion in federal funds allotted to organizations on the line, participation in the 2020 census is crucial to the welfare of all Philadelphians. “The stakes could not be higher,” Reid said