FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: José Viramontes, email@example.com, (505) 239-8449
State Applauds Reopening of the Las Cruces Area Census Office
Operations include hand-delivery of census to households in 16 New Mexico Counties.
LAS CRUCES, NM — On Friday, May 15th the Census Bureau announced they would resume field operations in one of three offices covering New Mexico. The Census Bureau suspended all hand-delivery of census materials on March 18 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the re-initiation of the field office operations, households in 16 of New Mexico’s 33 counties who rely on a hand-delivered form in order to participate in the census can now expect to receive those forms in the next few weeks.
“We have been encouraging the federal government to resume delivery of census forms to households across New Mexico as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “Reopening the Las Cruces office is a positive move by the U.S. Census Bureau and will help ensure that all of southern New Mexico has the tools they need to participate in the 2020 Census.”
Nearly 20% of households in New Mexico rely on hand-delivery of their census form – one of the highest rates in the US. With the suspension of field operations, many New Mexicans were left wondering when they were going to receive their census form. Additionally, with such a large part of the population excluded, New Mexico’s response rates have been artificially low.
By reopening the Las Cruces office, households in 16 New Mexico counties can expect to receive census forms at their doorsteps soon. According to the Census Bureau, this includes 56,500 households that had not yet received their census form or unique id for online participation.
“If you haven’t received your census form, you haven’t missed your chance to participate,” said the Governor. “Your community is relying on you to complete your census as soon as your form arrives.”
Counties covered by this action include: Catron, Chaves, Curry, DeBaca, Doña Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo, Lea, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Roosevelt, Sierra, Socorro, and Valencia. Nearly 100 percent of Catron County, for example, relies on hand-delivery of census forms.
Field staff for the Census Bureau have been trained to observe all social distancing protocols and will wear official government-provided personal protective equipment for their safety and the safety of the public. This operation is contactless and follows the most current health and safety guidelines.
Unfortunately, there is still no timeline on reopening other New Mexico field offices. Until those offices also reopen, over 100,000 New Mexico households will have to wait to complete their 2020 Census. Additionally, this action does not include any tribal lands. The Bureau will consult with individual tribes to establish schedules for resuming operations in those communities. The State is anxiously waiting for field operations to resume across the state.
Every household has until October 31st to fill out their census. Once households receive their census packet, they can fill it out online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail.
The State Complete Count Commission was formed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s in order to ensure a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census.