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Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence

Representing the 14th District of Michigan

Representative Brenda L. Lawrence, Michigan House Lawmakers Press for Accurate 2020 Census for Hard to Count Communities

September 4, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Brenda L. Lawrence, joined by Michigan Representatives Dan Kildee, Andy Levin, Haley Stevens, Debbie Dingell, Elissa Slotkin, and Rashida Tlaib sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau raising concerns about the Census Bureau’s decision to shorten the 2020 Census enumeration timeline from October 31 to September 30, 2020, and to compress vital data processing activities into three months from six months.

“Given that our nation is grappling with the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is imperative that we prioritize the implementation of a fair and accurate 2020 decennial Census to ensure recovery funding and other federal resources are directed to the communities most in need,” wrote the Members of the Michigan delegation to the Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau.

“Significant efforts and investments have been made at the national, state, and local levels to ensure robust and equitable Census participation in all of Michigan, and especially in harder-to-reach communities. Yet with COVID-19 disproportionately impacting communities of color and claiming the lives of more than 6,500 Michiganders, announcing a newly adjusted deadline will make it even harder for these communities to participate and complete the Census, denying them valuable resources aimed at improving their quality of life and standards of living for the next decade,” the members continued to state.

BACKGROUND

  • On April 13, 2020, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham issued a statement warning that Congress needed to pass urgent legislation to ensure the accuracy of the Census given the coronavirus pandemic.
  • That same day, Secretary Ross asked Congress to extend two specific statutory Census deadlines: the date to deliver apportionment data to the President, from December 31, 2020, to April 30, 2021; and the date to deliver redistricting data to the states, from March 30, 2021, to July 31, 2021. He also informed Congress that the Administration was extending its own internal deadline for field operations from July 21, 2020, to October 31, 2020.
  • In response to the Administration’s request, the House of Representatives passed extension provisions in H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, on May 15, 2020.
  • On August 3, 2020, Director Dillingham announced that the Census Bureau would cut short field operations by a full month and data processing operations by 60 days.

PDF iconFull Text of the letter