NewsLocal News


Waco prepares for population count, citizenship question may be added to 2020 Census

Correct Count Committee
Posted at 7:26 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 21:03:26-04

WACO, TX — We're officially one year away from the 2020 Census. The survey will happen on April 1, 2020.

City of Waco officials aren't wasting any time as they prepare to count the population.

Mayor Kyle Deaver announced on Monday that he plans to ask council members to join him in creating a Census Complete Count Committee during the city council meeting on April 16.

Deaver said the committee will focus on explaining the importance and benefits of completing the census to people in the community.

The committee will focus on populations that are harder to count like people who are homeless, children, people of color and those who are fearful of the government.

"The numbers are used across all industries to shape and form what our community looks like," said Waco City Councilwoman Andrea Barfield. "$1,578 per person for the next 10 years is what we stand to lose if you don't get counted."

President Donald Trump is pushing to have a question regarding a person's citizenship added to the survey.

Two federal judges have already ruled the citizenship question must be removed from the 2020 Census. The government is now waiting for a Supreme Court ruling on the controversial question.

In a tweet Monday, Trump blamed "Radical Left Democrats" for opposing the "all important" question. He is claiming the 2020 census will be "meaningless" if it doesn't include a citizenship question.

If the question is added, Deaver said they will explain to those affected that it's something they shouldn't be worried about.

"The Census Bureau is prohibited by the Constitution from sharing any individual information about anyone to any other part of the government," Deaver said. "So it is secure and we want to help people understand that."

Many people in Waco are in favor of President Trump's plan.

"I'm proud to be a U.S. citizen and I think it's our right to claim that," said Tony Harris.

"I do think it's an OK question to ask," said Benjamin Buddingh. "It's important to know on the census who is a citizen and who isn't."

The U.S. Census Bureau already asks questions about a person's place of birth and year of entry into the country.

"We need to have an understanding of who is in the country that is a citizen versus who is not. That data is critical to help policy makers make good decisions," said Gerrit Buddingh. "Data helps make decisions."

Hope Mustakim is the executive director of the Waco Immigrants Alliance. She said it's unnecessary for the census to question a person's citizenship.

"This is too much, it really is," Mustakim said. "Whether or not they're currently a citizen, doesn't really make a difference on understanding what the ages are of the children, when they're going to be in school, how many people are traveling our roadways."

Mustakim believes the question would make immigrants less likely to respond to the survey as a whole, making it less accurate.

"For us, it really seems like it only serves the purpose of othering and isolating and causing more fear," Mustakim said.

Survey answers are confidential. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share them with any law enforcement or government agency.

"It's important to be honest, so I think we should have honest information,"said Melissa Buddingh. "It would create accurate numbers and accurate information so people could make good decisions."

"You don't have to take action on it you just have to know who's a citizen and who's not for a census on who lives in the U.S.," said Stewart Kuffel. "Got to get all the information you can."

The Census Bureau has prepared two versions of the paper and electronic survey for next year: one including the citizenship question and one without it.