Federal court judge blocks Trump administration’s citizenship question in 2020 Census

Queens elected officials are applauding a ruling by a Manhattan federal judge who ruled Tuesday that the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census was unlawful.

In his ruling, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S.District Court for the Southern District of New York, blocked the administration from adding the question to the Census questionnaire.

“The Trump administration’s plan to sabotage the 2020 Census by adding a last-minute citizenship question has been deeply troubling,” Congresswoman Grace Meng said. “Since last year, I have continuously warned that asking respondents if they are citizens would likely decrease response rates and as a result produce an inaccurate and incomplete count that would have a decade’s worth of consequences. It would impact the distribution of federal resources and the number of Congressional districts that each state receives. This was a politically-motivated question against immigrant communities that we now know was pushed by former White House strategist Steve Bannon. It deserves never to see the light of day.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who authored the Census IDEA Act, which would ensure the census cannot be manipulated for partisan politics, called the ruling a win for all Americans who believe in a fair representative democracy.

“We knew from the day Secretary Ross announced his decision to add the citizenship question to the census that this was never about voting rights, as the administration claimed,” Maloney said. “It was always about politics and an attempt by the Trump administration to rig the constitutionally mandated census for partisan gain. Today, the court agreed.”

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is aware this case may end up in the Supreme Court.

“The legal battle is far from over, and Queens will continue to speak out against the proposed Census question for as long as there is active litigation. But today’s court ruling is a tremendous victory in the fight against a reckless policy targeting our thriving immigrant communities in Queens and across the country,” Katz said. “Including a citizenship question would undermine the goal of the Census: a complete count of all persons living in the United States. Here in Queens, a borough of nearly 2.4 million people of all races, ethnicities and faiths, an undercount would lead to fewer federal dollars for countless vital programs and initiatives.”

Katz continued, “Judge Jesse Furman’s ruling is consistent with the borough’s belief that everyone living in Queens deserves to be accurately and fairly counted. We are hopeful that any potential court decision in the future will cement this belief.”

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