Call On Congress To Remove Citizenship Census Question

On January 18 Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined the New York Immigration Coalition, 32BJ SEIU, elected officials and census advocates to call on Congress to pass legislation to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. They also called on the Trump administration to drop its appeal of a court ruling that directed the administration to remove the question. Maloney is the author of the Census IDEA Act, a bill that prohibits the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census. She is also co-chair of the House Census Caucus and led 126 current and former members of Congress on an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

Maloney explained that the administration announced on Thursday, January 17 it will appeal the court’s decision, endangering a fair and accurate count of our nation. Maloney is calling on Congress to fulfill its constitutionally mandated responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate census by swiftly passing her Census IDEA Act, which will be introduced next week.

“This anti-immigrant administration’s mission to disenfranchise immigrants, their families, and their communities through the census is a clear attack on the rule of law and our democracy,” said Congress Member Maloney. “The Trump administration’s insistence on adding the citizenship question is meant to rig the count in their favor because they are afraid that the changing demographics of our country will hurt the Republican Party’s electoral prospects. But the census is not a game to be played with. Census data affects the very core of our democracy and how we decide representation in every level of government. We need to pass the Census IDEA Act and remove the cloud of the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.”

The Amicus Brief submitted by the Congress Member and 126 current and former Members of Congress argued that both Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment make clear that the census is intended to count all people residing in the United States both citizen and non-citizen alike. Despite the secretary of commerce’s authority to determine the “manner” of taking the census, this authority does not give the secretary power to do an “end-run” around his constitutional duty to count all persons. Furthermore, the addition of an untested citizenship question does not, in any way, advance any legitimate governmental interest, Maloney explained.

2020 Census data will determine how more than $800 billion in federal funding is allocated, the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives, and representation in the Electoral College for the next decade. If added, the citizenship question would discourage millions of immigrants from participating in the census. The inaccurate population count will severely impact New York and other immigrant-friendly states for the next decade, costing them resources and representation in government.

The court case decided on January 15, State of NY et al v. US Dept of Commerce, is a New York State-led case of 18 states and the District of Columbia against the Trump administration to prevent the politicization of the 2020 Census with the inclusion of a citizenship question.

“This week’s ruling is a major win for New Yorkers and Americans across the country who believe in a fair and accurate count of the residents of our nation,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Mandating a question about citizenship on the census would not only undermine our immigrant communities, but would greatly impact funding for critical programs and our ability to determine fair representation in government. I am proud that New York has led the charge on this issue and we will continue to fight to ensure our processes are protected and our federal government is fulfilling its responsibility to serve Americans.”

“For Queens, it is more important than ever to be as fully counted as possible, and the substantial and long-term harm from an inherently unfair undercount would far outweigh any purported benefit. Including a citizenship question on the census is unfair to all Americans and will set the decennial survey up for failure,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.