BREAKING: Immigrant Advocates to Fight Trump in SCOTUS Census Citizenship Question Case

Plaintiffs prepare to uphold SDNY decision to remove citizenship question from the 2020 Census

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Supreme Court of the United States announced its decision to hear the case The Department of Commerce v. New York State et al., to determine whether the Trump administration can include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, issued the following statement:

“We're confident we'll beat Donald Trump in court again, and that the Supreme Court will uphold Judge Furman’s careful decision to block the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The facts are clear – the Trump administration tried to violate the Constitution, just to rig the Census in favor of a white supremacist agenda. We know that the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is an attempt to deprive immigrant-rich states of federal dollars and political representation, and virtually erase our communities. We are ready to win this battle in the Supreme Court as we did in the lower courts, and ensure that every New Yorker is counted in our democracy.”

On January 15th, 2019, Judge Jesse Furman in the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit New York State et al. v the Department of Commerce, blocking the Trump administration’s reckless attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The ruling stated that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross violated the Administrative Procedure Act in his proposal to add a citizenship question.

The Justice Department appealed within days to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and on January 21st, 2019 brought an expedited appeal to  the U.S. Supreme Court.

The suit was consolidated with New York Immigration Coalition v. the Department of Commerce, which argues that the Trump administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is a racially motivated form of discrimination.

Background

The New York Immigration Coalition filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups against the administration’s attempt to target immigrant communities, challenging the addition of the citizenship question by adding an intentional discrimination claim. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the Constitution and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual basis.

On April 3rd, the New York Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit– New York v. Dept of Commerce– in the Southern District of New York to stop the Commerce Department from demanding citizenship information on the 2020 Census. The lawsuit argues that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census violates the law and reverses seven decades of precedent without a factual basis.

Currently 18 states plus D.C., a number of cities and counties, and the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors have joined the New York Attorney General’s lawsuit. On May 25, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Judge Jesse Furman on July 3rd stated it was “unlikely he would dismiss the case in its entirety” and granted the AG’s office request for additional discovery, resulting in the federal government recently releasing new documents.

On June 6th, the New York Immigration Coalition filed a related federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York in conjunction with the ACLU and four other immigrant rights groups. The suit challenges the Trump administration’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, by adding an intentional discrimination claim.

On July 26th, Judge Furman ruled against the Trump administration’s request to dismiss New York v. Department of Commerce, and will allow the lawsuit to move forward.

In discovery, the trial uncovered that Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross consulted Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and known white supremacist, and therefore revealed the Administration's racial bias behind adding the question. Ross previously claimed that the request to add the citizenship question spawned from the DOJ, but later backtracked that he and his staff made the initial request.

Additionally, compounding evidence in the concurring California case over the citizenship question found that Trump administration officials suggested they would lift protections that keep Census responses confidential, and share those responses with law enforcement and national security agencies.

On February 19th, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States is slated to address elements of the case to determine what evidence is considered outside and within the administrative record, and therefore admissible as evidence.

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