HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — The census counts everyone, including undocumented immigrants, and if they are not counted then the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) suffers.
United States Congressman Vicente Gonzalez, representing District 15 of Texas says the RGV could be affected if not everyone is counted.
“In the Rio Grande Valley, with 1.3 million approximate people, we have about 200-250 thousand immigrants,” said Congressman Gonzalez. “If those folks, even just a half or a third of them don’t get counted, it is a billion-dollar impact over the decade for our region and area.”
United States Congressman Henry Cuellar representing District 28 says the census is one of three ways a region can be funded.
“Most of the money that goes down to the communities are dictated by a formula,” said Congressman Cuellar. “If you have 100 people and don’t count 20 percent of them then what’s going to happen is you’re only going to get funding for 80 of them but the needs are for 100 people.”
Mayor of McAllen Jim Darling says this could lead to long term effects.
“It’s not to me so much the dollars but the programs that don’t get done. Construction programs, good programs, child care programs. That’s a huge problem,” he said.
Mayor Darling also says everyone benefits from the census including immigrants.
“They go to our schools, they get support from us, health support, etc.,” said Darling. “So yes, it’s important. They’re here and they’re staying”
Congressman Cuellar says the constitution is clear about counting all people.
“I remind folks to read the constitution because the constitution says that when you do the census you count all people. It doesn’t say you count people with land, it doesn’t say only count people that are white, people that can read,” said Congressman Cuellar.
Congressman Gonzalez added they want to make sure everyone gets counted for the 2020 census because it will help them when the vaccine for COVID-19 comes.
Portions of the video filmed in this story were taken from our file footage.