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Rep. Bill Pascrell, left, and Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh at the Boys & Girls Club in Paterson on August 27, 2018. Photo by the New Jersey Globe.

Pascrell raises alarms over census citizenship question

Bureau holding jobs fair in Paterson

By Nikita Biryukov, May 28 2019 11:07 am

Rep. Bill Pascrell continued to raise alarms over President Donald Trump’s desire for a citizenship question on next year’s census Tuesday.

“Today’s jobs fair is not just about highlighting good-paying jobs for our community. We are also holding it to raise awareness of the importance of our Census,” Pascrell told the New Jersey Globe. “The Trump administration’s attempted politicization of the Census is a clear and present danger to diverse cities like Paterson and diverse states like New Jersey.”

Paterson is among the poorest cities in New Jersey, and like many of the state’s northern cities, Latino immigrants make up a large portion of its population.

According to Census Bureau estimates, 61% of Paterson residents are Hispanic or Latino.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on the citizenship question in April and is expected to deliver a decision on the matter sometime next month.

The jobs fair, which was also attended by Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh and New York Regional Census Bureau Director Jeff Behler, is meant to recruit locals to aid with the coming year’s census.

The Bureau is hiring thousands in a variety of roles ahead of 2020.

Democrats and activists fear that a citizenship question could have a chilling effect on census participation that could leave residents in mostly-Democratic cities — and states — uncounted, potentially costing the party federal aid money and seats in the House.

“If communities like ours are severely undercounted, the consequences will be dire: Loss of federal funding, the loss of services and support and the elimination of political representation in reapportionment,” Pascrell said. “We must make sure that every Patersonian and every New Jerseyan is counted. Because when it comes to the Census, our very futures are at stake.”

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