ADC Calls on Congress to Support MENA Category

Washington, DC | | January 26, 2018 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) is deeply frustrated and angered that the Census Bureau appears to be rescinding its previous commitment to include a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) category in its race and ethnicity data collection for the 2020 Census.

The Census Bureau, which conducts several “test runs” leading up to the national Census conducted every decade, had previously included the MENA category in its 2015 form. For decades, ADC has lobbied the Census Bureau for Arab-Americans to be counted in a broader MENA category in order to accurately represent the millions of Americans of Middle Eastern and North African heritage. Accurate Census information ensures equal opportunity access to public resources, particularly for historically marginalized groups.

Regrettably, the Trump Administration has killed decades of community efforts to secure proper representation for Arab-Americans. For its 2018 “test run,” the Census omits the MENA category and reverts to its 2010 model. Since this is the last provisional Census prior to the nationwide Census, it suggests that the Census has no intention to include MENA for 2020.

Eliminating the MENA category — erasing from official recognition millions of Americans — may converge with the Trump Administration’s agenda to undermine diversity in the U.S., but it serves no public good. In discarding the findings of the 2015 Census, the Bureau has thrown out years of research and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars. It is contrary to the public interest to return to the outdated and limited 2010 Census after conducting a much more thorough and comprehensive 2015 Census.

Our nation benefits when public officials have access to accurate information on the public they serve. Our Congressional representatives similarly benefit when they have better knowledge about their constituents. ADC calls on Congress to intervene and demand the Census Bureau include the MENA category for the 2010 Census.

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