Dear members of Congress,
All people, regardless of race, religion or immigration status, deserve to be counted in the census without fear. As people of faith, we believe that God created all people equal and that democracy is the political expression of our dignity. We implore all members of Congress to support the Census IDEA Act and do everything in their power to ensure the citizenship question is not included in the 2020 census. To deny a person a voice in democracy is to deny their divinely given dignity, which is a grave injustice.
Our nation has a perverse history of using the census as a tool for exclusion, rather than equality. We cannot go back to those dark times. The citizenship question, which hasn’t been on the census sent to all households in nearly 70 years, is expected to deter immigrants and communities of color from participation because of mistrust of how the government may use this information. Including the citizenship question is another tactic of the Trump administration to further disenfranchise immigrants. Everyone, regardless of legal status, has full dignity and the right to be counted.
Low census participation hurts our communities. Census data determines not only political representation in Congress, but also more than $800 billion in federal funds to families, localities and states each year for public resources and infrastructure investment. Leaving people uncounted would result in inadequate resources for bridges, schools, hospitals and the services we all count on. This inequality is incompatible with our values of democracy and opportunity.
You have an opportunity to make sure all people are counted through supporting the Census IDEA Act. Please stand up for human dignity by ensuring that the mean-spirited, intrusive citizenship question be removed from the 2020 census. Congress needs to restore the notion of equality and justice for all.
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