Kern County residents heard from a number of immigrant rights advocates Wednesday at the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance’s second annual Immigrant Civil Rights Conference held at Hodel’s Country Dining.
Elected officials, attorneys, U.S. Census Bureau staff, and law enforcement officers all spoke about immigrant rights and how they impact the safety and well-being of Kern County. A consistent theme throughout the conference was that many people living in Kern County and throughout the country are fearful of personal information they share with the Census being released to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We have Title 13 and Title 26 that protects everyone’s information,” said U.S. Census Bureau, Central California Lead Partnership Specialist Benita Duran, in reference to the 2020 Census.
Duran, along with a panel of speakers from Kern County’s Complete Count Committee (KCCC), spoke about the security around Census data. Duran said people give more information when shopping online or when downloading an app on their phone than they will on the census form.
“You matter. You are important, and you need to help us,” said Dee Slade, the Executive Director of the African American Network of Kern and member of KCCC. “Tell me what your needs are. Tell me how we can help you. Tell me how the Census, in your viewpoint, can help you.”