The 2020 Census is coming and two big US Supreme Court rulings this week had Dallas leaders talking Friday about the importance of a complete count.
Political representation and federal money ride on the count of people every 10 years.
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder joined Former Dallas Mayor and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and other Dallas area officials at St. Paul United Methodist Church for a forum on getting every resident counted.
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"I think it's a civic responsibility to make sure they volunteer, raise their hand and be counted" Holder said.
The mostly Democratic group was pleased about the ruling this week from the nation's highest court said that a question about citizenship should not be included.
"The experts in the Census Bureau have said if you include the citizenship question on the form, it will depress the count in the Hispanic community, so as many as four to six million people will probably not allow themselves to be counted," Holder said. "The Constitution says you're supposed to count of all the people in the United States. It does not say count only the citizens."
Republican President Donald Trump supported the citizenship question on the Census which is supposed to be confidential to get an accurate count of non-citizens. Trump has said he may seek to delay the census to keep push for inclusion of that question.
Dallas has formed a Complete Count Committee to promote an accurate census. The goal when the committee was announced in March was to raise $1,090,500 for marketing, media buys and supplies.
Information from the City of Dallas said Texas will lose $1,578 in federal money for each person who is not counted.
St. Paul Pastor Richie Butler said churches should help promote the census.
"It really is a matter of following the money and we want to make sure that here in Dallas and in North Texas, that we are well represented in terms of the resources," he said. "We are called to bring about awareness, education and understanding to help people understand the importance of this process."
Census figures are used to determine representation in the US Congress and draw lines for districts at other levels of government.
A separate US Supreme Court ruling said lawmakers should determine district lines, not courts.
In Republican dominated Texas, Democrats have gone to court to fight redistricting decisions they considered unfair.
Democrat Holder is traveling the nation to promote a complete count and combat "gerrymandering" of district lines for political gain.
"If you don't have a fair census, you can't have a fair redistricting process in 2021," Holder said.
Friday, Republican Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced the formation of what he called a "bi-partisan" Texas Senate redistricting committee, led by Houston Republican Senator Joan Huffman.