Save Our Seats: NY Congressional Delegation and Community Advocates Call on Cuomo to Commit $40M for Accurate Census

March 19th, 2019

NYS to lose up to two congressional seats based on projected Census data

NEW YORK, NY — Today, the New York Counts 2020 coalition joined members of the New York congressional delegation for a press conference calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to join the State Legislature and commit $40 million in funding for Census outreach and education, and protect New Yorkers from losing political representation based on inaccurate Census data.

Among those present were U.S. House Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Gregory Meeks (NY-5), Grace Meng (NY-6), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), and Jerry Nadler (NY-10).

Just last week the State Senate and Assembly included our $40 million ask in their respective one house budgets. The coalition is urging the Governor to step up and do the same.

According to the Election Data Services’ 2018 Appointment Study, New York could lose two congressional seats based on projected Census data in 2020.

"If we fail to complete an accurate count of our communities in the 2020 Census, New York is slated to lose two of our congressional representatives and billions in federal funding. In order to protect New Yorkers against these losses, it is imperative that New York allocates funding for Census outreach and education to traditionally undercounted communities. We urge the Governor to join the State Senate and Assembly, and meet our ask for $40 million in Census funding to save New York's fair share of political representation and federal dollars," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition (Facilitator of New York Counts 2020).

“The Census affects the very core of our democracy, and determines critical funding and representation in New York State. It’s a wise investment for New York to spend $40 million on outreach to ensure accurate data is collected. We must do everything in our power to avoid an undercount and we must resist any effort by the Administration to manipulate the 2020 Census for partisan political purposes. That’s why we are urging New York State legislators to provide critical funding. Protecting the 2020 Census protects New York and our future,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).

“As the Administration attempts to frighten immigrants from making their voices heard, it is more important than ever that we fully fund Census outreach efforts. The Census is not just an exercise in collecting statistics; it determines whether our communities receive the representation they deserve in Washington.  I am proud to stand alongside my colleagues in support of a fair and full counting of all New Yorkers," said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (NY-9).

“The Census is one of the most important issues we face as we head into 2020 and determines both our representation in Congress and funding for important projects across the country. All voices matter and should be counted, and we are standing together today to ensure that our city, our community, and our families have a say and that their voices are counted,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).

“At a time when the Trump administration is trying every trick in the book to sabotage our census process, we need to make sure New York State has the resources it needs to fight back. Community-based outreach and education are critical to getting a fair, accurate count in the 2020 census, and  I urge our State legislators and Governor to invest in these programs. This funding will ensure that New York State receives the fair representation and federal funds it needs and deserves over the next decade,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (NY-4).

“The 2020 Census has just been designated 'high risk' by the US Government Accountability Office. We are living in a time when more national discussion has gone into the budget to build a racist border wall than into the tool that builds our country's future.Asian American Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing racial group in this state, but recent surveys shows that fear, misinformation, and eroded trust in government make AAPIs more hesitant to respond to the Census. Community-based organizations are best positioned to combat these fears and encourage an accurate count. By leaving community-based Census efforts out of his budget, Governor Cuomo has allowed this fear and hesitation to take root, putting New York State at 'high risk' for losing federal funding, having less congressional representation, and the immeasurable damage that flawed Census data would wreak on our schools, hospitals, jobs, and city planning,” said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Chinese-American Planning Council and member of NY Counts 2020.

"Our quality of life depends on a fair and accurate count for all New Yorkers! The goal is to count all hard to reach immigrant communities including the city's African community,” said Khadim Niang, Civic Organizer at African Communities Together.

”At a time when our immigrant communities are under attack from all sides, by the Trump administration, it is important for New York State to act responsibly and take these attacks seriously by giving adequate funding to reach vulnerable communities who have always been hard to reach. As a South Asian and Indo-Caribbean organization we know all too well how important it is to have proper resources, adequate interpretation and translation and most of all on the ground outreach that reflects the ability to reach all parts of our community,” said Rubi, Member of Desis Rising Up and Moving.

“LatinoJustice PRLDEF (LJP) is committed to ensuring Latino’s and New Yorkers are fairly and accurately accounted for in the 2020 Census. Since being founded in 1972 as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, LJP has advocated for and defended the constitutional rights and the equal protection of all Latinos under the law including ensuring that all Latino’s are fairly and accurately accounted for in the decennial census. LJP has also worked to secure the voting rights and political participation of Latino voters. Latino’s are the largest ethnic minority group in New York State and it is vital that all Latino’s are properly accounted for in the 2020 Census. An undercounting of Latino communities poses serious problems for political representation and proper disbursal of federal funding over the coming decade. Latino’s already face significant barriers to equal participation in the political process. Voter suppression efforts, gerrymandering, and limited language access barriers are among the many obstacles that discourage and prevent many Latino’s and families from exercising their constitutional right to vote. When Latino’s are undercounted in the Census, ourcommunities are accorded fewer congressional representatives and other state and local political districts. It is therefore imperative that state-wide elected officials put $40 million in the state budget for community based organizations to assist in ensuring a fair and accurate count of all New Yorkers,” said Jorge Luis Vasquez, Jr. Associate Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

"New York has lost at least two congressional districts every decennial Census since 1950. We cannot stick our heads in the ground hoping this time it will be different. We are a perfect example of a City and State threatened by an undercount. New York needs an intervention of $40 million invested in partnerships with community based organizations to do census outreach in our diverse communities, and this intervention is long overdue.  Our communities have spoken, the NYS Assembly and Senate have spoken, and now we need the Governor to put his money where his mouth and make this smart investment. We cannot afford not to,” said John Park, Executive Director of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.