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Santa Maria residents, indigenous community have less than two days to fill out census after new deadline

SANTA MARIA, Calif. – After months of legal battles over the 2020 Census deadline, a supreme court ruling says the Trump administration can end it early. Santa Barbara County community leaders are working twice as hard to get more response before the new deadline.

The new deadline for census 2020 has been moved up from the end of the month to Thursday.

The announcement was made after a legal battle over whether the census could end earlier.

The deadline was originally extended to the end of this month due to the pandemic.

But the Trump Administration later said it needed extra time to meet its congressionally mandated deadline.

Community leaders are concerned about the long-term impact the decision will have on hard to count cities like Santa Maria.

The census has historically undercounted minority groups, with the overall self response rate of 67.2%.

Community leaders and non-profit organizations are stepping up efforts to get people to fill out the census.

Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project or MICOP is focusing on getting responses from the indigenous Oaxacan community.

That community is mostly Mixteco speakers and many need help to fill out the census.

After the September 30th deadline was extended, the non-profit organization was able to get dozens to respond.

That means additional federal funding allocated by the census will be coming to the community.

“With the extended time these last two weeks, we were able to count over 50 community members here in santa maria that didn’t have the opportunity to fill out the census before the september 30th deadline,” said MICOP Census Coordinator Donna Olivera.  “With that means that we were able to bring one million dollars to our communities.”

MICOP has about 30 hours to get the indigenous community to sign up for the census, and will work twice as hard during that time.

Since most of Mixteco speakers are farm workers, the non-profit says staff members will be in the ag fields Thursday bright and early to get as many to fill out the census.

Lifestyle / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County

Karen Cruz-Orduna


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