WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) led Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Gary Peters (D-MI) and Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Andy Levin (MI-09) in sending a letter to U.S. Census Bureau Director Steve Dillingham calling for the Bureau to ensure an accurate count of Michigan residents and their respective communities in the 2020 Census. The letter comes amid reports Census workers across the country were ordered to falsify data and the Bureau’s decision to shorten data processing by 2.5 months under pressure by the Trump administration.
Last month, Tlaib and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan revealed plans to challenge the Bureau’s count over concerns it did not make a good-faith effort to accurately count their residents. It has since been reported that the state of Michigan could lose a whopping $1.5B in the next decade because of a potential undercounting of tens of thousands of Michiganders. That loss as the result of an undercounting of minority and hard-to-count-communities, the Michigan lawmakers wrote, is unacceptable.
“An accurate Census is extremely important to the allocation of billions of dollars in federal funding, benchmarking of state and local statistics, apportionment and redistricting of congressional seats, and myriad other applications,” a portion of the lawmakers’ letter to Director Dillingham reads. “Our residents rely on an accurate Census to fund their most basic needs, from school breakfast programs and public housing to unemployment insurance and Medicaid. However, the Census Bureau’s enumeration of Detroit and other Michigan communities has been rushed and under-resourced and threatens to result in an inaccurate census.”
They went on to request data for the state of Michigan, the City of Detroit, and any Michigan geography with a final census completion rate below 99% by November 30, such as response percentages, number of workers deployed for counting, and number of workers were deployed for non-response follow-up.
“We are not going to sit idly by and watch our communities be robbed of billions of dollars in funding for schools, hospitals, and other essential services,” Tlaib said of the letter. “I thank my fellow Michigan representatives and Senators for joining in the call for an accurate 2020 Census count. The people of the 13th Congressional District, and all who call Michigan home, deserve to be counted. This letter is just one avenue I will pursue to ensure the Trump Census Bureau is held accountable for their haphazard handling of the count that will severely cost our residents long after their reign of incompetence is over.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.