Contributed by Nicole Dumaguindin, Bobby Halili and Naida Castro / NEFFCON-IE
Filipinos/Filipino-Americans/Pilipinx make up the largest Asian population (33%) in the Inland Empire, numbering close to 118,000 as of Census 2010.
Based on the 2017 Pew Research “Filipinos and in the U.S. Fact Sheet,” Filipinos living in the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino are estimated to be over 200,000 by 2020.
Half of this number will be native-born and the other half will be immigrants (naturalized citizens and permanent residents). Currently, significant Filipino communities are found in eight cities of the Inland Empire, but a larger number are spread out to more than 40 other cities across 26,000 square miles in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
For Census 2020 Filipinos are considered HTC (hard-to-count). With 30% of Filipino immigrants considering themselves lacking in English proficiency and an additional 20% who are 65 years and older, fear, anxiety and lack of confidence in the second language have created strong reluctance to participate in Census 2020. In addition, more than 55% of Filipinos are married, many are dual earners and commuters with little time left to devote for family members; hence the census questionnaire is not on the list that completes the day.
Parents inadvertently forget to count every family member living in the same household — children, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, and other relatives and friends; and fear of arrest and deportation among the undocumented Filipinos together with the 7% who are unemployed and the 8% who are living in poverty are also contributing factors.
NEFFCON-IE calls on all Filipinos. “Huwag matakot!” (Have no fear!) CENSUS 2020 QUESTIONNAIRE WILL NOT ASK for your Citizenship/Immigration Status, Social Security Number, Use of Public Benefits, Criminal Background/Convictions, Bank/Payment Information, as well as information on Employment/Income/Wealth. Know that confidentiality of your information is protected under Title 12 of the U. S. Code.
KNOW THAT EVERY FILIPINO MUST BE COUNTED. COMPLETING CENSUS 2020 IS PARTICIPATING IN PLANNING THE GEOGRAPHICAL, SOCIAL, and ECONOMIC FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITIES FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS. For every person counted at least $1,000 worth of services from the federal government can be provided every year to support public schools, hospitals and health clinics, Children’s Health Insurance, affordable housing, public highways and roads, Medicaid/Medicare and much more. Also political representation can be more appropriately apportioned, both at the National and State legislatures, to be the voice for different communities.
With our Filipino faith and “Bayanihan” spirit – we must encourage and assist each other to support our community. Together, let us be faithful citizens by completing CENSUS 2020:
• ONLINE by going directly to https://my2020census.gov (available 24/7 through September 30, 2020;
• TELEPHONE by calling either 844-330-2020 (English) or 844-478-2020 (Tagalog); or
• US POSTAL MAIL by completing and mailing the enclosed self-address CENSUS 2020 form they received to: U.S. Census Bureau, National Processing Center, 100 Logistics Avenue, Jeffersonville, IN 47144
The National Ecumenical Forum for Filipino Concerns in the Inland Empire (NEFFCON-IE) is an organization comprising of people of faith who believe in the dynamic presence and integration of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the US Church and society. This is demonstrated by a deep, and liberating solidarity relationship between the Filipinos, the Filipino-Americans and people of different cultures and the progressive organizations and people in the Philippines in their struggle for justice, peace, human rights, and integrity of creation. This vision is inspired by the Love of God and Service to the People, where faith is seen as a river of life that nurtures legitimate struggles and inter-human relationships.