Allentown organization working to overcome Census mistrust in immigrant communities

Written by on September 25, 2020

Allentown organization working to overcome Census mistrust in immigrant communities

By Genesis Ortega

September 25, 2020

Shown is an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident, in Glenside, Pa., Thursday, March 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

UPDATE: The Census 2020 deadline has now been extended to Oct 31. Click HERE to take the Census.

The deadline to complete the Census is days away. It will decide how much federal funding municipalities get for critical services over the next decade. But counts are still down across the Valley.

Allentown is much larger than it was 10 years ago, and as WLVR’s Genesis Ortega reports, getting Census responses from the city’s immigrant communities may be essential. 

Some immigrants have concerns that their confidential Census answers could be used against them. Yamelisa Taveras is director of Allentown’s Unidos Foundation, which works to improve quality of life in underserved communities across the Valley. 

“It’s understanding the immigrant story and how it’s so easy to lose trust in those that are supposed to be protecting you. We see that everyday.”

Unidos has launched an aggressive bilingual effort to overcome distrust of the Census. 

“The reality is that there is a lot of mistrust. I think as we continue to take charge and educate ourselves, and then make it an intentional education of our community, we’ll be able to begin to shift some of that mistrust culture that continues to exist.”

All Allentown residents, including undocumented people, are supposed to respond to the Census. But Tavaras says it may take years for some communities to trust the government. 

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