Congressman Eliot Engel has announced the United States Census Bureau has shared its intent to open an area census office (ACO) in Westchester County sometime during the June or July months this year. Engel’s office wrote to the U.S. Census bureau inquiring about the ACO, which is necessary to ensuring Westchester County is adequately counted during the 2020 census. The current plan calls for the opening of an office in Peekskill.
“The census is important and everyone needs to be counted,” Engel said. “New York could lose 2 seats after the 2020 census, which would hurt the state’s ability to garner federal funds for vital services like healthcare transportation, and SNAP. I want to make sure the Census Bureau is doing everything it can to count every single one of Westchester’s residents, so I am pleased to hear there will be at least one Westchester office.”
“I am pleased to hear about this office coming to Westchester and I thank Congressman Engel for his actions,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer said. “The 2020 Census is much more than just a headcount; it is a snapshot of our County and the numbers need to be accurate. This data is vital for our budget process because it allows us to have a better understanding of how much funding we are going to receive, and how we can properly allocate it. Any attempt to shift how the Census is counted will result in fewer dollars coming to Westchester County to administer programs. I want to ensure that resident who lives here be accounted for.”
In January, Engel cosigned a letter with other House Democrats to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressing concern about the amount of area census offices planned for 2020. A vocal critic of the Trump Administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the census, Engel has fought vigorously to ensure New York is not undercounted by census takers. While a federal court has ruled against the controversial question, many remain fearful of answering census questions out of fear of deportation. New York will face a stiff penalty at the federal level if its population is undercounted.