Miami-Dade School Board Member Will Lead National Effort To Count Latinos For The 2020 Census

Jun 25, 2018

A Miami-Dade school board member will lead a national effort to convince the federal government to remove a controversial question about citizenship from the 2020 U.S. Census.

Lubby Navarro was appointed co-chair of a national commission that will hold hearings around the country and then release a report on how to get the most accurate count of Latinos in the census.

As far as Navarro is concerned, that means not asking about immigration status, which federal officials plan to do in 2020 for the first time in decades.

“Asking this question will create an undercount,” Navarro said. “We could lose representation.”

Navarro, who is Cuban, was appointed co-chair of a new National Latino Commission on the 2020 Census. The panel was established by the nonprofit NALEO Educational Fund, which advocates for Latino participation in American civic and political life. The other leader will be California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who is Mexican and a Democrat.

Navarro said the group will hold five or six hearings in different parts of the country, and she expects one will be in Miami. Then, members will release a report with recommendations to the Census Bureau.

Navarro represents Miami-Dade County School Board’s District 7, which includes some populations that are considered “hard to count” by the Census Bureau. For example, her constituents include migrant workers in southwest Miami-Dade County. In a previous role with county government, she oversaw an aggressive campaign to encourage people here to complete the 2010 census.

Navarro stressed the importance of getting an accurate count, particularly because some federal education funding is based on census numbers.

It can be hard to convince immigrants from Latin American countries and the Caribbean to participate, Navarro said. She worries that could get worse this year, given the current national climate around immigration.

“Especially with the fear that is going on, it’s going to be like moving a mountain to get them to complete the census,” Navarro said.

Here’s a video of a panel discussion she participated in during NALEO Education Fund's conference in Phoenix over the weekend: