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Congressional Tri-Caucus Chairs Request Meeting with Outgoing Census Director

May 30, 2017
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – which is composed of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus – sent a letter to the outgoing Director of the U.S. Census Bureau John H. Thompson inviting him to a meeting to discuss concerns and determine how Tri-Caucus Members can better support the U.S. Census Bureau as it prepares for the 2020 Census.
 
As stated in the letter, “[The Chairs] were troubled to learn that [Director Thompson] will be stepping down as U.S. Census Director much sooner than expected, particularly at such a critical time when important field tests and other preparations are being planned and scheduled in the coming year.”
 
The Chairs added, “Collecting data that accurately reflects the United States population is key for fair political representation and access to federal resources. Unfortunately, the Census has had a history of disproportionately undercounting communities of color…We are already seeing some concerning trends that may undermine a fair, accurate, and successful Census. Underfunding 2020 Census preparations, scaling back the 2020 advertising budget used to inform the public about the upcoming Census, and efforts to weaken or eliminate the American Community Survey have raised concerns about how accurate the ultimate count will be.”
 
The letter was signed by: Rep. Cedric Richmond, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus; Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Rep. Judy Chu, Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific Americans Caucus.
 
COPY OF LETTER
 
May 30, 2017
 
John H. Thompson
Director
U.S. Census Bureau
4600 Silver Hill Road
Washington, DC 20233
 
Dear Mr. Thompson:
 
Since 1790, the United States has completed a Census every ten years. This Constitutional requirement fulfills the important charge of collecting data and information from the American public to better measure our country’s growth and progress. This data is not only critical for the allocation of federal funds and government services, but also serves as a tool for businesses and community-based organizations to better identify and serve emerging markets and target key communities.
 
Collecting data that accurately reflects the United States population is key for fair political representation and access to federal resources. Unfortunately, the Census has had a history of disproportionately undercounting communities of color. While the Census has taken steps to prevent undercounting, there are many challenges we face today that threaten the progress we have achieved.
 
Most pressing is the upcoming 2020 Census, which is to be the largest and most technologically-advanced count conducted. However, we are already seeing some concerning trends that may undermine a fair, accurate, and successful Census.  Underfunding 2020 Census preparations, scaling back the 2020 advertising budget used to inform the public about the upcoming Census, and efforts to weaken or eliminate the American Community Survey have raised concerns about how accurate the ultimate count will be.
 
In addition to these concerns, we were troubled to learn that you will be stepping down as U.S. Census Director much sooner than expected, particularly at such a critical time when important field tests and other preparations are being planned and scheduled in the coming year.  The Tri-Caucus – which is composed of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus – would welcome an in-person meeting with you to discuss our concerns, and determine how our Members can better support the U.S. Census Bureau as we all prepare for the 2020 Census.
 
Please contact Alma Acosta, Executive Director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, at Alma.Acosta@mail.house.gov to confirm your availability.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rep. Cedric Richmond, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus
Rep. Judy Chu, Chair, Congressional Asian Pacific Americans Caucus
 

 

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The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.
 
 
Media Contact:
Carlos Paz Jr. (CHC) 202-897-7718, carlos.paz@mail.house.gov
Alton Wang (CAPAC) 202-225-5464, Alton.Wang@mail.house.gov
Kamara Jones (CBC) (202) 226-9776 Kamara.Jones@mail.house.gov