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Senators join governor as executive order is signed to ensure full 2020 Census count

census 062019 State Senators Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) and Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) joined Gov. JB Pritzker today as he signed an executive order providing resources to ensure a full count in the upcoming 2020 Census.

“It is a joyful day today. We do not have time to waste. We have to get to work quickly,” Aquino said at the event. “We need to make sure that we are having everyone, all residents of the state of Illinois counted, no matter their immigration status. If you live in this state, you should be counted. You are one of us, you are a neighbor, you are family and we care for you.”

The executive order builds on the $29 million allocated for census outreach efforts in this year’s balanced budget by establishing a new Census Office within the Illinois Department of Human Services. The office will administer grant funding and conduct outreach and education to ensure an accurate and complete count.

Also included is the creation of a 12-member Census Advisory Panel that will advise the Census Office on how best to reach hard-to-count communities.

Castro commended the governor for committing Illinois to remain a welcoming state, despite attempts from the White House to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

“The census is a sacred constitutional provision and it should be respected, not used to push a political agenda,” Castro said. “The census was created to find the most accurate data on all persons, not just citizens, and if the citizenship question was to be added it would shy people away from answering. I’m glad that the governor would not allow this political intrusion to botch up the accuracy of the census that we use as a guide for the next decade.”

Communities with high numbers of black and Latino residents are historically overlooked in census years, and rural areas could have trouble filling out the online form due to limited broadband access.

Because census results are used to determine federal funding and representation in Congress, Illinois could lose up to two congressional seats and billions in federal dollars if there is an undercount in 2020.

The 2020 Census officially begins on April 1, 2020.