Judge's Ruling On Census Timeline Comes As Organizers Feel 'Urgency In The Work'

Sep 7, 2020

A federal judge's ruling over the weekend temporarily stops the Census Bureau from wrapping up its in-person counting.

The ruling comes as some in western Massachusetts said they're worried immigrants and people of color could be under-counted with a shortened timeline.

The census initially said it would collect responses until the end of October, but moved up the date to September 30. That decision has led to legal challenges, and the temporary restraining order issued Saturday.

Zulmalee Rivera is the Springfield organizer for Neighbor to Neighbor, which receives funding from the Census Bureau to increase participation.

“The date moving up, you know, we need as much time possible that we can get to make sure we connect with these communities," she said. "That puts an urgency in the work that we do.”

Rivera said undocumented immigrants, in particular, are often hesitant to fill out the census.

She said COVID-19 has limited her ability to spread the word at community events and by going door to door.

A census representative said it's sending out about 700 people a day in central and western Massachusetts to gather information.