COLUMBUS, OH– Today, the ACLU of Ohio warned legislators that a new plan proposed by a group of Ohio lawmakers aimed at excluding immigrants from the census would harm communities and would stretch thin services for all Ohio families by not getting an accurate count of all those residing in the area.

ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link said, “Thousands of immigrants work, raise families and pay taxes in Ohio. These legislators want to completely discount their contributions to communities by not including them in the next census. Not only will this send a hurtful symbolic message to people providing for their families in Ohio, it will also seriously affect the amount of funding their community receives for things like education, roads, and various other vital services.”

Link went on, “With almost 175,000 non-citizens in Ohio, several communities could face losing substantial funds and stretching already tight budgets because not all of their population will be counted.”

Omitting those not born in the United States could also pose serious health and safety risks. Disaster recovery plans, disease management strategies and assessments on public health all rely on data gleaned from the census report.

The message of the bill could also have dire implications for the economy in Ohio. Organizations that require doctors, researchers, college professors, engineers and others rely on attracting talented workers from other nations to live and work in Ohio. This type of proposal would send a clear message to these highly skilled people that they do not count in Ohio, despite their contributions.