Frederick County officials and immigration organizations are echoing a nationwide concern that an undercount in communities of color will affect immigrants’ access to federal funding and political representation for the next decade.

Frederick County officials and immigration organizations are echoing a nationwide concern that an undercount in communities of color will affect immigrants’ access to federal funding and political representation for the next decade.

Approximately 11 percent of Frederick County residents are immigrants, according to the United States Census Bureau. Statewide, the percentage is about 15 percent, and nearly one-third of those (29 percent) are undocumented, according to the American Immigration Council.

Nationally, as many as 4 million Americans could have been missed in the 2020 Census, according to the Urban Institute, a left-leaning think tank.

Andrea Senteno, regional counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s D.C. office, said that President Donald Trump and his administration have “undertaken a multi-year assault on the Census.”

Trump wanted to add a citizenship question, but the Supreme Court rejected it. Still, some say it created fear among immigrants.

Advocates say that Trump’s recent demand that the Census produce a state-by-state count of undocumented immigrants also discouraged immigrants from Census participation.

George Escobar, chief of programs and services at CASA de Maryland, an immigrant advocacy group, said the effect of the threat of a citizenship question was felt across Maryland.

“Just the threat of citizenship question coming up really created a negative, really associated the census in a negative way. It was really something that we had to battle when we were doing, you know, outreach,” Escobar said.

“I think a lot of especially undocumented immigrants still have the fear that you are giving your information to the government,” said Krsna Avila, a staff attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “A lot of them did not want to complete it for fear that their information was going to be turned over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement].”

Maria-Teresa Shuck, director of the Centro Hispano de Frederick, said that the undercount comes from “the eternal problem of fear and mistrust” and that “a lot of folks, me included, some of the countries that we come from, you can’t trust the government, you can’t trust the police. I mean, it’s a cultural thing, really.”

In addition to determining representation in Congress and state legislatures, Census 2020 results will determine how the government allocates $900 billion in federal funding for health, education and social service programs.

“Any undercounting of residents that call Frederick home affects the federal funds allocated to the city to offer needed services, support programs, and grow our quality of life,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said in part in a statement. “Losing (the estimated) $18,000 for each undercounted individual is a considerable impact. Those funding reductions could largely affect the programs and services provided to lower income and marginalized communities, people of color, and children.”

Frederick County Councilman Jerry Donald, who represents District 1, said that immigrants have played an increasingly crucial role in Frederick in recent years as doctors, business owners, academics and community members.

Donald said an undercount may cost the county “many millions of dollars over the next decade” because “many of the grants [Frederick County] receive[s] from the federal and state governments are based on the Census numbers.”

Rick Weldon, CEO and president of the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, said that despite what he would call “a historic effort” in outreach along the west side of Frederick, including outreach at bodegas, shops, restaurants and faith community outreach, undercounts still persist.

“It still wasn’t enough. We still haven’t overcome that fundamental fear that those folks have to coming forward and addressing who they are, how many people live in their residence and what their circumstances are,” Weldon said.

Despite the pandemic and concerns about how accurate the Census 2020 count is, officials and organizers are counting the little wins, like increasing Census completeness.

Escobar said that “participation looks decent” in “immigrant-heavy communities” despite the pandemic.

“It’s not overwhelmingly better than what we got 10 years ago, but at the same time, you know, I think a lot of us feel like we kind of dodged a bullet,” Escobar said.

Weldon, who served as a member of the county’s Complete Count Committee, said that he is proud of Frederick for raising the completeness of its count and ranking fourth in Maryland.

“That set a new record for us. So in 2020, COVID year, to be able to move up from like the high teens to number three or four county in Maryland for the completeness of our count,” Weldon said. “That’s a big, big step forward in a really tough, complicated year.”

(42) comments


What I am completely struck by is the willingness to bury our heads in the sand. Ask yourself the following question. Would you want to know how many opiate addicts exist in a given locality? If you answer is yes, we would need to know a good estimate for planning purposes, then you just answered the question of why we should/would want a count of immigrants whether they are documented or undocumented.

I've never seen any issue solved by just ignoring it.


Can't count them Newmarket if they won't answer the door or go to website or call phone numbers provided to be accounted for.



There is this new thing that they call Statistics. Mathematicians use it all the time to calculate things we can't directly observe. It's gonna change the world one day.


Sorry NMP, but that does not address francesca's statement. Yes, you can apply statistical analysis to all kinds of situations, but you need the numbers to evaluate. You can't count someone who won't be counted for the population set, unless you meant to use statistics to estimate that uncounted population.



You absolutely can count things that you can't see. You assign a confidence to your estimate. It really is that simple. You take a good sample and you can absolutely use that. A large part of the census is just that very thing.

Ever seen how a poll works?


Trust me NMP, I know statistics work. I do statistical analyses on a regular basis. So, you were telling francesca that the missing data could be filled in using population data? If that's your point, then the missing data for those that ducked the census is irrelevant. However, the "massaged" data cannot be used for appropriations or governmental representation. That only comes from a hard count, the census.


The only question I find of my interest is the following: "What county would a Hispanic business owner feel more inclined to invest in?"

In the past 3 months, I was presented with an opportunity to make a 1.3 million dollar investment over 5 years ( modest by any means in this field). Guess which county won?

Guess why?


If I were to personally invest in a small business (Hispanic or otherwise) I would invest where there is a demonstrated need for the product(s)/service(s) offered by the business without a lot of established competition and if the product(s)/service(s) are more than basic needs (i.e., wants) then I'd also go where people had a higher disposable income (if physical location of the business is important). If physical location doesn't matter (i.e., internet business) I'd locate the business where it is best for the bottom line of the business (i.e., areas with lower taxes, lower labor costs, lower cost of land if needed, etc.). For profit businesses shouldn't depend on government services in order to make a profit. So, with the information you provided, I wouldn't hazard a guess.


other counties have found a way to tabulate the impact of Hispanic consumers on your business. I am expanding my Frederick County business by moving into space twice as big this coming fall. For new business investment, Baltimore City and County offer a safer environment for a Latino investor than Frederick County and the city do.

And we all know the headlines Baltimore City and County have made the past 5 years. Still :

1. The Hispanic population is growing

2. The Hispanic population is more stable for a variety of reasons

3. Public transportation is more accessible

4. Spanish advertising makes sense

5. There is wider access to low-cost internet for children of school age.

6. The political and popular discourse is less anti hispanic.

So yes, Hispanics consume a lot of products and services that can be quantified. Even in Frederick City and County. I just am not sure if the trend of Hispanic consumption in Frederick business is growing. Or is it in a nosedive? What have the effects of the past decade been on this line item of our city and county's economy?

Other localities have ready answers to these questions...

I c


Why not invest in Cuba?


Does Cuba count illegal immigrants in their census? If not, what is your point?


No need to be so dismissive and “ catty “in your comments francesca


Huh??? How do you get that from her statement hay? The simple answer is that we were beginning to thaw relations with Cuba under Obama, and then the hawks in the Trump Administration scuttled those efforts, going back to a Cold War stance supported by the Cuban community in South Florida. Hopefully the Biden Administration will thaw the relationship (again), and investment can start again.


$1.3 million would go a long way in Cuba.


1.3 million goes a long way in Maryland too.. The people that should read these comments are in County Government. They have read them and maybe we will see how we can change this dialogue. Thanks, Francesca for your candor. Hayden, you are always a friend.


"“Any undercounting of residents that call Frederick home affects the federal funds allocated to the city to offer needed services, support programs, and grow our quality of life,” Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said in part in a statement. “Losing (the estimated) $18,000 for each undercounted individual is a considerable impact."

It is my opinion that population growth adversely impacts my quality of life and adversely impacts the environment, other species and climate change. When governments are not collecting enough revenue from taxes to pay the true costs of demanded public services, how is adding growth on top of that going to make things better when the growth isn't paying for itself either?

I find it somewhat as to why the mayor wants money from the federal government but doesn't want to cooperate with the federal government on the 287(g) program. I also find it puzzling as to why the public services required of the children born here but one or both of the parents are here illegally, are not counted as costs due to illegal immigration. Those children would not be here but for the illegal immigrant being here but for the illegal immigration. Public services needs (and therefore costs) would be lower. I'm not against immigration (I am against population growth for many reasons), but what I want is a true accounting of costs/benefits of both legal and illegal immigration. I suspect one would find an economic benefit (not environmental or quality of life benefit) from legal immigration. I'm very doubtful that if true costs of illegal immigration were calculated, one would find a positive economic benefit. We need to look beyond just the economic impact of immigration and population growth and look at all of the costs/benefits.


I am assuming you had no children (population growth). But I agree; things like tax credits for having children seems silly.


You are correct, I have no children, however if a couple had up to two children they theoretically are not contributing to population growth. They just aren't helping reduce the damaged caused by roughly 7.7+ billion people on this planet. And personally, I'd like to see the government get rid of just about all income tax deductions and credits. The only exception might be if they want to exempt the first $XXX of a tax filer's income regardless of home ownership, number of family members, etc. To be fair, even though I've benefited from long term investments (every one should strive to have investments), I'm not sure long term investments should be given preferential tax treatment over ordinary income or short term investments. Same with IRA's and Roth IRA's, eliminate them all.



If you flatten out the preferential treatment of long-term gains over short term, you would kill our markets.


NewMarketParent, Why do you say it will wreck the markets? Won't the interest rates just adjust to account for the change? Eliminating the income tax deduction for short term debt (i.e., the ability to deduct credit card interest payments was reduced over several years) didn't wreck the credit card market. If done correctly (maybe incrementally and given enough time, say 10, 20 or even 30 years), the markets should adjust. After all there was a time when income wasn't taxed and the economy made the adjustment to income being taxed.


A "possible" 4 million out of ~ 330 million people. I guarantee that this is a better success rate than 99% of all Gov't. endeavours.


The press up to their usual tricks I see. True they are immigrants, but the author should add the appropriate adjective in front (illegal, undocumented, etc.).

Comment deleted.

Ah, the old racism canard!! As a latino male, I support legal immigration. My father emigrated to the United States legally. He got in line, so to speak. Why is it acceptable for illegal immigrants to violate our laws? What other laws is it okay to ignore, please elucidate.


It is nearly universal that people, once established here, resent more people coming in after them. Back when most of our ancestors arrived here there was basically no immigration law so coming here "legally" meant showing up without a disease. But no one wants illegal immigration, I don't think. What people want is a pragmatic approach to immigration and that will always involve people sneaking across the borders, overstaying tourist visas, and so forth. At some point, it makes sense to legalize them rather than having a productive part of our society living in the shadows, ripe for exploitation.


Speeding. Most people speed at some point.

Insurance fraud. People don’t report accidents if they cash avoid it or lie about the location of vehicles.

Tax fraud. The IRS estimates that hundreds of billions of tax revenues are lost annually to tax fraud, especially from small business owners. I’ve known SBOs who have bragged about the tax fraud.



I think you have pretty much summed it up. JLoo wants to pull up the ladders that he and his family enjoyed climbing on.

There just needs to be a sane immigration policy and there also need to be heavy fines on companies that hire undocumented workers. The enforcement side of that needs to be on the business' back rather than the human's backs.


Not sure where you are getting that NMP. jloo clearly stated that his parents came here legally. He is not pulling in the legal immigration ladder. However, he does not support illegal immigration, so his position is consistent. You will find that many (not all) latinos (among all legal immigrants) who came here legally have the same opinion.


Relevancy? '“Any undercounting of residents that call Frederick home affects the federal funds allocated to the city to offer needed services, support programs, and grow our quality of life,' Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said..."


The Republicans know that it is more profitable for their constituents to keep the immigrants illegal. It also keeps them “hidden”, isolated, away from the Ruling Class.


Non citizens have no right to federal funding and political representation. They can go through the legal process if they want citizen's rights.


Where in this article did it mention "Non citizens"? You DO realize that the large majority of the immigrants in Frederick are here legally? Are you saying that the ones who DID go through the legal process should be punished by the discriminatory way the Census was handled? Your racism is clearly showing.


Approximately 11 percent of Frederick County residents are immigrants, according to the United States Census Bureau. Statewide, the percentage is about 15 percent, and nearly one-third of those (29 percent) are undocumented, according to the American Immigration Council.

Why would legal immigrants fear completing the census bnick467? Simple answer is they don't. The "undercount" is from undocumented immigrants who are not here legally.


If there were here legally, then they should not have any concern about being counted for. Diplomats are here legally too, but they are not entitled to federal resources, U.S. unemployment compensation or being able to vote in elections.


I am guessing you are not an immigrant and have no idea how even legal immigrants face all sorts of persecution and encounter all sorts of racism.


Why do the strict Constitutionalists all of a sudden want to screw with the language of the Constitution? It is pretty simple and does not mention citizenship.


Liberals ignore the Constitution all the time when it is convenient for their cause. In this specific case , the Federalist Papers refer to citizens counted, excluding Native Americans, not inhabitants. In the recent election, four states changed election law in contravention of the Constitution. This is fact. But all is okay because your guy won.


The framers of the Constitution said what they meant. I mean, what were the citizenship rules when the Constitution was written?


Their guy won, jloo, and the country lost....



And conservatives ignore the Constitution when they hold power.

What specific item was changed in the law? Are you one of those stupid insurrections still convinced by the Big Lie?


jloo, Are you suggesting that the Federalist Papers supersede the Constitution, which says “all persons”. You crazy libs will lie about anything.


Nonsense jloo



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