The Las Cruces-based U.S. Census Bureau reopened its field office and announced census workers will follow social distancing as they hand deliver census packets to households in southern New Mexico. The office, which covers Catron, Chaves, Currey, De Baca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Roosevelt, Sierra, Socorro and Valencia counties, opened Wednesday. The state said that about 56,500 households in those counties will receive hand-delivered materials so they can participate in the 2020 census this year. Compared to other states in the U.S., New Mexico has one of the highest rates – nearly 20 percent of households – that need hand-delivered census forms. If households go uncounted, the state could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money. Related: A grassroots organization goes digital to encourage filling out the census
Nearly all of Catron County residents rely on hand-delivery, according to the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to add a question to the U.S. Census inquiring about respondents’ citizenship—for now. The court released the ruling Thursday morning, on the final day of this year’s term. The high court instead remanded the question to a district court—and with the U.S. Census Bureau’s own deadline looming, there may not be enough time for the government to get the question added to the 2020 census. The question would depress Hispanic response to the census overall, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The ruling, in which Chief Justice John Roberts was joined by the four liberal members of the court, says it did not believe the rationale the U.S. Commerce Department offered as to why it chose to add the question.
New Mexico faces challenges in getting a full and accurate count for the next census—and for receiving the federal funding that comes with it. So the state, and others, are getting ready in advance of the 2020 census. As part of the preparations, U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham traveled to New Mexico this week and met with stakeholders and public officials, including both U.S. Senators who represent the state. As part of his trip, Dillingham traveled with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall and local elected officials and stakeholders in a remote part of Los Lunas on Tuesday. The community was an example of a hard-to-count area of the state.