05082019CM0766rSpeaking at a Latino Unity Day press conference on Wednesday, Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez stressed the importance of a complete count in Illinois during the 2020 Census.

“Each person not counted means revenue lost for the State of Illinois from the federal government,” Martinez said. “This means fewer dollars for roads and infrastructure, less money for education, less reimbursement for cities and towns, less money for essential human services and less money for the most vulnerable among us.”

Martinez is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1408, which would appropriate $25 million to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide grants to community providers and local governments to encourage full participation in the upcoming Census.

Martinez cited a recent study by the Chicago Urban League that found that over 40 percent of Illinois’ black residents and 1 in 3 Latino residents lives in a hard-to-count community.

She also said the threat of an incomplete count is heightened by a proposed citizenship question on the census that would make immigrant communities reluctant to participate in the census.

“In today’s world, with the rhetoric coming from the White House, we need to educate people and make sure they are not fearful,” she said.

Martinez said she is working closely with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus to ensure that every hard-to-count group is covered.

View Martinez’s full remarks below.

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