Torres Hosts 2020 Census Town Hall at Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 909

September 12, 2019
Press Release

The 35th Congressional District is one of the hardest to count in the country


The town hall brought together representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau, local elected officials, community-based organizations, educational institutions, the business community, and members of the public  


ONTARIO, CA — U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) recently convened a town hall at the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Local 909 to discuss the importance of the upcoming 2020 Census with representatives from the U.S. Census Bureau, the NALEO Educational Fund, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, the County of Los Angeles, The Community Foundation, the Warehouse Workers Resource Center, First 5 San Bernardino, the County of San Bernardino Preschool Services Department, and members of the public. California’s 35th Congressional District is one of the hardest to count in the country, with approximately 231,300 people or 31 percent of the district living in hard-to-count neighborhoods. This is the second town hall Torres has held on the 2020 Census. The first forum connected community partners with resources to promote participation in the 2020 Census.


During the town hall, Torres and the participants discussed how information collected by the Census is protected under U.S. Code Title 13. In light of concerns over the Trump administration’s proposed citizenship question in the census, U.S. Code Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep any information collected from respondents confidential and strictly used only for statistical purposes. This information may not be shared with any government agencies, including law enforcement. The town hall also touched on challenges surrounding the undercount of children, resources to increase access to online questionnaires in Los Angeles County and the Inland Empire, and employment opportunities available with the Bureau.


“I’m committed to making sure that every person in our community is counted in the census—just as the Constitution mandates. The census determines so much for the hard-working families in my district and throughout the Inland Empire. From how many federal dollars go to improving our schools, to access to affordable, quality healthcare and strengthening the roads we drive on and the availability of affordable housing,” said Torres. “This town hall helped connect residents with the resources and knowledge they’ll need to be prepared and engaged for the 2020 Census. I’m grateful to all of our partners for their participation. It’s up to all of us to make sure every Californian is counted.”


“The 2020 Census is important, and partners are critical to its success. The goal of the Census is to count everyone once, only once and in the right place," said Julie Lam, Census Bureau Los Angeles Regional Director. “By mid-March 2020, every home will receive an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census with three options for responding: online, by phone, or by mail. It’s against the law for us to publicly release your responses in any way that could identify you or your household.”


“Latino children suffered a 7.1% undercount rate, which is significantly higher than the 4.3% rate among non-Latino children. San Bernardino county had the fifth largest percent of undercounted very young Latino children of any county in California during the 2010 Census,” said Adan Chavez, Regional Census Campaign Manager in the Inland Empire for the NALEO Educational Fund. “When young children are not counted, our families and communities cannot get important resources and services like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Head Start, and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program. NALEO Educational Fund’s Hazme Contar campaign will help our communities avoid a devastating undercount of Latino children and we are going to continue to work closely with NALEO Member and Congresswoman Norma Torres to ensure the best count possible.”


“The Southwest Carpenters want to thank Representative Torres for her leadership on this important issue,” said Dan Langford, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. “Representation matters for working people, and the Carpenters will continue to be part of the solution by educating our members and their families about the importance of participating in the 2020 Census.”


Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution requires the Census Bureau to conduct a census every ten years to count every resident in the U.S. The data collected by the census determines how billions in federal funds are distributed to local communities, as well as the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 2020 Census will begin on April 1, 2020.  


As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Torres helped pass legislation that blocked the Trump administration’s proposal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. She also worked to increase funding for the Census Bureau to $8.45 billion in the Fiscal Year 2020 Appropriations Funding Bill to ensure that the Bureau can conduct a thorough and accurate census that counts all persons, as required by the Constitution. This funding enables the Bureau to carry out the largest and most technologically advanced decennial census in its 230-year history.