United Sikhs supports US Federal Court decision extending Census Data Collection Deadline

New York, September 26, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
Yesterday, thanks to the plaintiffs National Urban League, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), the Navajo Nation, the Gila River Indian Community and League of Women Voters, a federal judge in the North District of California issued a decision preventing the Census Bureau from stopping the Census data collection on September 30, 2020. See decision here. This means that members of the Sikh and other historically undercounted communities will have more time to fill out the Census form! Find the form here.

The federal case questioned whether the U.S. Census Bureau could fulfil its duty to conduct a head count of every U.S. resident by the September 2020 deadline. The outcome of the census count determines how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is allocated along with how many congressional seats are allocated to each state in a process known as apportionment. Plaintiffs argued that the extension of the 2020 Census count is vital.

United Sikhs agrees with plaintiffs that the extension is needed. To take advantage of this extension, and make sure that community members are not undercounted, United Sikhs announced Phone Banking in the states of California, New York, New Jersey, State of Washington, Texas and Illinois through the National Gurdwara Networks.

“Extending the deadline will make the difference for the Sikh and other underrepresented communities given the hardships resulting from COVID-19, language barriers, structural racism and privacy and citizenship stigmas that undermine trust in government in these vulnerable communities.

These factors contributed to the low self-response rates and community leaders are making extraneous efforts to get everyone counted,” states Wanda Sanchez Day, National Legal Director at United Sikhs. See “POP-UP” CENSUS ASSISTANCE CENTER IN RICHMOND HILL, NY GURDWARA IS LATEST PUSH TO RAISE SIKH 2020 CENSUS AWARENESS.

Originally, the U.S. Census Bureau would have finalized its work, including census workers door-knocking by October 31, 2020. It would have produced apportionment data to the White House for congressional consideration by April 30, 2021.

Redistricting statistics could be given to the states by July 31, 2021. Community groups sued after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ abruptly changed the initial October 31, 2020 end of data collection deadline to September 30th. The U.S. Department of Commerce alleged that the reason for shortening the time-frame was because the Census Bureau would have reached its own 99% standard for completion by September 30, 2020.

However, Census Bureau data shows only four states, Idaho, Illinois, Vermont, and West Virginia, have met that completion rate, stated Judge Koh, “That means 46 states have not met the requirements yet.” See Census Data Collection Webpage here.

United Sikhs urges the U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau to extend the deadline into the next months to give organizations and the Census takers an opportunity to count everyone.

“We urge everyone, especially our Sikh community, to make the most of this opportunity and take a few minutes to fill the census form that can be found at this link or to seek help at the local gurdwara,” states Gurvinder Singh, International Humanitarian Aid Director at United Sikhs.

“Everyone living in the United States, can fill out the form and get counted! They are guaranteed privacy by the Census Bureau and by law,” Ms. Sanchez Day states. We will continue to make every effort to help count everyone until we are told to stop, she said.

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