Census employees working to ease concerns

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The census happens once every decade, and this is the year the population in the United States will be counted. Census workers and volunteers hosted a town hall for members of the East-African community in south Minneapolis Friday.

A lot is being done to make sure everyone can take part. Census webpages and guides are in 60 languages, including sign language and braille.

But some fear filling out the census form will lead to the mishandling of data.

"Especially for our East-Africans, especially since this is, for a few of them … the first time they've completed the census forms," said Ahmed Mussa, Pillsbury United Community Health Coordinator. "In Trump's era, a lot of people are feared with immigration, fearing that they might be deported because they have never done this."

Community members and census workers spoke in Cedar-Riverside to say undocumented immigrant communities don't need to worry. Information isn't handed off to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the FBI.

"None of us, me, as a census worker cannot share any one individual's information," said Yasmin Yusuf, a census taker. "If I do, I could go to jail for five years."

Questions don't include immigration status, social security numbers or banking information.

The population count determines how much money every year goes to help states, local communities and businesses, and also how many seats of the U.S. House of Representatives go to states based on the totals.

"We're not going to do this (again) until 2030 so we want to make sure we do it right this time," said Yusuf.

Census forms will be mailed in a few weeks with a final reminder in mid-April before a census worker will follow-up in-person.