Attorney General Xavier Becerra Urges Fresno Residents To Participate In The Coming Census

Mar 6, 2020


State Attorney General Xavier Becerra was in Fresno Friday to remind residents to fill out the 2020 Census. Fresno County is one of the hardest-to-count regions, and Becerra urged residents not to ignore their chance to be represented.

The visit comes nearly two years after Becerra filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for suggesting the census also ask about citizenship status, which the courts ultimately ruled as unconstitutional.

Standing in downtown Fresno, Becerra reiterated that census responses are private, not shared with other departments, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He said a comprehensive count of residents is instrumental in bringing federal money to the community. 

 

"That’s how we determine how many people live in the city of Fresno, how many people there are in the state of California. How many people, then, should have money sent back to their town or their state because they paid taxes to repair the roads, to make our schools better, to have these mobile library centers,” Becerra said.

He was referring to mobile library centers like the one humming behind him as he spoke. Fresno County Public Library’s computer lab on wheels is called the “Digibus” and it's playing a role in the census count.

“We've had this vehicle for three or four years now and we have used it a lot for helping people learn how to do a job search, and just learning how to use a computer in general,” said Michelle Gordon, a principal librarian at the Fresno County Public LIbrary. “But we realized, when the census was coming, with it being online, that we really had an opportunity to help provide access in places that don’t have access.”

Inside the "Digibus," Becerra, left, and librarian Michelle Gordon, right, talked about the vehicle's ability to reach communities without a physical library.
Credit Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Gordon means both broadband access and digital literacy skills. Once the census count starts in mid-march, the Digibus will tour hard to reach areas, and help people fill out the survey online.