KRWG

Las Cruces Calls on Residents to "Be Counted" in 2020 Census

Jan 31, 2020


 

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, center, introduces the City's 2020 Census campaign, "Be Counted" or "Tu Cuentas" in Spanish, during a city hall press conference on Jan. 31, 2020. Joining him, from left, are Las Cruces Area Census Office Manager Craig Buckingham, City Councilor Gabe Vasquez, Mayor Pro Tem Kasandra Gandara, Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza, and Doña Ana County Commissioner Manuel Sanchez.
Credit Michael Hernandez

The 2020 Census will be the first census to rely heavily on online responses, according to City of Las Cruces officials. All homes should receive a mailed invitation by April 1. Residents may also respond by phone.

U.S. Census data will determine how $675 billion in federal funding will be allocated for programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Head Start, SNAP and public safety.

The Census also determines representation in Congress and how district lines in the state are drawn.

New Mexico receives more than $7 billion in federal dollars each year, according to the state Census webpage.

District 3 City Councilor Gabe Vasquez said residents throughout Doña Ana County should feel safe providing their information regardless of their legal status.

“Regardless of your citizenship status, the services that we provide are dependent on everybody being counted. So yes, the information included in the Census is completely safe. It will not be used for or against any other political purposes or purposes of immigration. And so, we want everybody to be comfortable with that,” Vasquez said.

Las Cruces Area Census Office Manager Craig Buckingham added the Census Bureau is seeking 23,000 New Mexicans to fill jobs as census takers, recruiting assistants, office clerks and staff. The temporary positions  pay between $16-$17.50 per hour.

For every percent of residents Las Cruces undercounts, the City estimates it would lose $30 million in federal funding over the next decade. That's $3,745 per person, per year, according to the state.

Census takers will begin to visit homes that have not responded by May 13. The last day for residents to self-respond is July 31.

More information on the 2020 Census campaign in Las Cruces can be found here.