Philanthropy Must Ensure Immigrants Are Counted

Friday, June 21, 2019

As an organization committed to equity and justice, GCIR believes every person deserves to be counted. We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision today to temporarily block the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. This ruling is a victory for democracy, yet the census still faces significant challenges.

The current administration has created a climate of fear and distrust that will make immigrants reluctant to participate in the enumeration effort. Investing in efforts to achieve a fair and accurate count must be a critical philanthropic priority no matter the final ruling on the citizenship question.

An undercount of immigrants, their families, and other historically hard-to-count populations would cause harm not only to them but to all Americans for generations to come. States would lose tens of billions of dollars in federal funding for programs crucial to the well-being of their residents. Congressional seats would be apportioned and district lines at all levels of government would be drawn based on inaccurate data. Leaders in every sector, from philanthropy to government to business, would lack the data they need to invest in their communities.

With so much at stake, philanthropy must act to ensure immigrants, their children and families, and all those who are marginalized by the present atmosphere of hate and intolerance are counted in the 2020 census. Anticipating the challenge of this census, many of our members at the local, state, and national levels have already made unprecedented levels of investments. In California, where half of all children have at least one immigrant parent, funders have made a substantial commitment and are poised to increase it.

Participating in the census is an assertion of dignity, a commitment to community, and an expression of hope for a better future. Now more than ever, we must ensure immigrants and all disenfranchised communities are counted.

What Funders Can Do Now

  • Learn more about the census and the barriers to participation
  • Support efforts to reach immigrants or other hard-to-count populations that align with your funding priorities, either through direct grants or as part of a coordinated funder effort or pooled fund (contact Huong Nguyen-Yap for more information)
  • Engage civic, business, and government leaders in your networks in supporting outreach to hard-to-count communities  

— Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees