Decision to end 2020 Census count early has KC mayor worried about future funding


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ripple effects from Washington are being felt here in America’s heartland.

President Donald Trump’s decision to abruptly end the U.S. Census count could limit federal funding that’s being sent to Kansas City.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted in favor of the president’s plan, allowing the deadline for response to the survey to be moved up to Oct. 15. The deadline was originally set for Oct. 31.

Census data is often used to allocate money for local cities to use for infrastructure and services.

On Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas pointed to the CARES Act as proof of the census’ importance. City budgets fell nearly $90 million short, but the mayor said stronger census counts would have kept the funding higher.

“There’s a huge difference in what we’re allocated based on if our population being where it’s allocated rather than where it’s supposed to be,” Lucas said.

So far, according to Lucas, only 60% of Kansas Citians have completed the survey. Census data from 2019 show the city’s population at roughly 495,000. Lucas said many people who haven’t completed the survey are possibly people of color, undocumented people or those from low-income settings.

Those who support Trump’s move point back to local governments, demanding they do more to remove non-citizens.

“We have to take care of everybody,” Lucas explained. “We educate everybody. The Supreme Court told us we have to do that. The Supreme Court said we have to provide the same services no matter who you are or where you’re from.”

John Fierro, president of Kansas City’s Mattie Rhodes Center, said he helps thousands of Latino people obtain services and financial assistance every year. Fierro said some Hispanic people don’t complete the U.S. Census for fear of being targeted or deported. 

“It’s unfortunate how this administration has treated immigrants,” Fierro said. “We’re locking kids up. We’re basically saying all Mexicans are drug dealers and everything else that’s bad in this world. You have people who’ve been targeted from the get-go, and you’re asking them to complete something that’s been issued by the government.”

Fierro said his agency was already encouraging people to complete the survey. Now, they’ll be in a 24-hour overdrive to make their voices heard — through the census and at the polls on Election Day.



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