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Long Island News

Caravan Tries To Raise Eastern Long Island Participation In Census

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U.S. Census map of Long Island

Immigrants’ rights activists and community organizers drove in a caravan through eastern Long Island Thursday to encourage residents to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census.

The deadline to complete the 2020 Census is less than two weeks away, and the East End’s response rate is below 50%.

Sister Margaret Smyth is with the North Fork Spanish Apostolate. She urged everyone to participate as soon as possible at a rally after the caravan.

“There is not much time left. The time now is not to just hear, but to act — to respond ourselves to the Census, and to invite others to complete it, too,” Smyth said.

The Census results will determine how the federal government doles out hundreds of billions of dollars for critical services like schools and hospitals.

Organizers say one reason for the low participation rate on the East End is because some undocumented immigrants are reluctact to respond to the Census.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says an accurate count is more important than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn.

“We know that if we are undercounted, those very services — those critical services that people need and will need to recover from COVID-19 over the next few years — they will be diminished,” Bellone said.