NILC Statement Following SCOTUS Decision on Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

June 27, 2019

Hayley Burgess, [email protected], 202-805-0375

NILC Statement Following SCOTUS Decision on Citizenship Question in 2020 Census

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the U.S. district court’s ruling in New York v. United States Department of Commerce, which blocks for now the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census. However, the ruling allows the U.S. Department of Commerce to attempt to reinsert the question.

Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement in response to the Court’s decision:

“In an important victory for immigrant communities across the nation, the Supreme Court today issued a rebuke to the Trump administration and its Department of Commerce, blocking it from adding the citizenship question, as previously proposed, to the 2020 census. This decision makes clear that the reasoning behind the agency’s decision was contrived and that the Commerce secretary’s rationale for adding the citizenship question in the first place was deeply flawed, political, and pretextual.

“At the root of placing a citizenship question on the census questionnaire is an effort to discriminate against, disempower, and silence communities of color and immigrant families, which include U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike. The Supreme Court recognized today that the Department of Commerce engaged in a manipulated effort to force this question onto the census, but it does not ensure there will be no similar question in the future. Lower courts must consider the growing evidence of discriminatory intent by those who proposed the question — an intent to weaken the full participation in the census of Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latinx, Black, and other immigrant communities of color.

“Those behind the citizenship question clearly intend to make our communities afraid to complete the census questionnaire for fear of what will happen to them if they do. The result would be an undercount, leading to fewer resources and less power for our growing and diverse communities. We can’t allow this, and we will work to ensure that the government fulfills its obligation to fully count all of us. We must all be counted.”