Katz Organizes Town Hall To Address 2020 Census Fears

Shanda Burrell, 32, holds a sign encouraging people to complete their 2010 census. AP photo by Jason E. Miczek

Shanda Burrell, 32, holds a sign encouraging people to complete their 2010 census. AP photo by Jason E. Miczek

By Christina Carrega

As the melting pot of the world, Queens has a lot at stake in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census — especially when it comes to a citizenship question proposed by the Trump administration.

That question has raised concerns that noncitizens, particularly undocumented immigrants worried about revealing their status, will decline to complete the census, resulting in detrimental population undercount.

To address those concerns, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who represents more than 1 million immigrants, will host a town hall on Nov. 13 to address potential challenges posed by the 2020 questionnaire. The meeting will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.

“The Census impacts everything we do here in Queens, and we have so much at stake,” Katz said in a statement. “It determines how much representation we will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, how much funding we will receive for infrastructure and health services and for our schools over the next decade, and much more.”

Even without a citizenship question on the ballot, Queens has experienced census undercounts in the past.

Though Queens contained roughly 2.4 million residents, the 2010 Census dramatically underreported the number of people living in the borough, especially in neighborhoods with high immigrant populations like Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst, Katz said.

“Now is the time for New Yorkers to stand together and make sure everyone of us is counted,” said Deputy Mayor J. Phil Thompson. “Washington wants to sow fear to keep people in the shadows so that they feel alone and powerless. But New Yorkers, including immigrant New Yorkers, are not powerless. Making sure that every New Yorker stands up for each other and stands up to be counted sends a strong message that we will not stop fighting.”

The 2020 Census will be available online to 80 percent of respondents and for the first time since 1950, the form will likely include a citizenship question.

The town hall at the Helen Marshall Cultural Center in Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens on Nov. 13 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. is designed to help educate residents and answer questions about the form.

Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP in advance at queensbp.org/rsvp or by calling 718-286-2661.