New York, NY, July 21, 2020 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds today to the U.S. Administration’s Executive Order to exclude undocumented immigrants from 2020 U.S. Census data used for Congressional apportionment, the process by which the number of Congressional representatives are determined for a community. Everyone deserves to be counted, as required by the U.S. Constitution. This move will potentially disenfranchise thousands of communities in their representation by the U.S. Government. The Supreme Court already made its decision last year about the inclusion of the citizenship question in the U.S. Census.
Hans Van de Weerd, the IRC’s Vice President of Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration said:
"The U.S. Constitution requires everyone to be counted by the U.S. Census. It is not hard to imagine someone new to this country not understanding what the Census is, why they are receiving information in the mail about it, or why someone is at their home asking about their family. Given the circumstances many of our clients have fled from, we know that trust in the process is key to overcoming fear and mistrust of government. It is important that all those whom we serve are educated about this important process.
“All our clients have the right and the responsibility to be counted by the Census. The IRC is committed to providing them with information about what the Census is and the importance of responding to it in the same way we do with other legal requirements, cultural orientation topics, and civic engagement issues. We will work with our clients and partners to do our part to promote a fair and accurate count through education and collaboration.”
In the United States, the IRC is a trusted refugee and immigrant community service provider, serving more than 48,000 individuals annually with services to support integration and empowerment. IRC is committed to being a strong community partner, and we know that the Census impacts how public resources are allocated to local communities for years to come, as well as their representation in government. Our offices are involved in local efforts to coordinate and conduct outreach on the Census to do our part to support the communities where we work, despite COVID-19
Having reached more than 9,000 people across the IRC’s more than 20 U.S. field offices so far, these efforts include calling and texting clients about the Census; distributing printed information; sharing reminders and encouragement to complete the Census on social media; partnering with community leaders to promote response; developing materials in languages not covered by the Census Bureau; including Census information in our classes and other community touchpoints; and more in collaboration with our national and local partners.
The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and over 20 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.