CAA presented remarks on Census language access in a regional Census convening organized by the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA). Key stakeholders, including the California Census Office, the California Complete Count Committee, philanthropy, local leaders from the San Francisco Complete Count Committee, and community-based organization shared strategies, cultivated partnerships and addressed key concerns related to Census 2020.

Hong Mei Pang, Director of Advocacy highlighted key language access issues that would prevent a full and complete count of limited-English proficient communities in 2020. Given the vast diversity of languages that our community speaks, CAA continues to advocate for paper Census surveys in API languages that have been eliminated by the Census Bureau in 2020. 

“CAA has been working on Census since the 1970s to remove barriers and motivate participation by Limited English proficient communities. Linguistic diversity is one of our legacy issues, and we know that language access is a gateway issue for our community’s ability to have equal access.”

Language access needs and a digital divide will present significant challenges to successful Census implementation. The digital survey will available in 12 languages but the paper form will only be in English and Spanish. Hard to count communities such as seniors, immigrants, and minority populations are most likely to lack access to computers with internet access. In addition, the hostility shown by the federal government may deter immigrant participation in 2020.

CAA continues to lead statewide and local advocacy efforts to ensure equitable and equal access to the Census for all. Due to our statewide organizing efforts, we successfully pushed for an extra 185 million dollars in the California State budget over three years to go toward Census outreach.