WASHINGTON, D.C. ‒ Immigrants, communities of color, refugees and progressive allies rallied in front of the Supreme Court of the United States, today, in support of a fair and accurate 2020 census. After the Trump administration unlawfully added a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a number of grassroots community groups, cities and states filed lawsuits to stop the administration’s untested and dangerous question. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments brought forward by CASA, Make the Road New York, New York Immigrant Coalition and others.
“We're confident 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 census is simply an enumeration of residents, as Constitutionally mandated. Adding the citizenship question will have an especially chilling effect on communities of color, depriving immigrant-rich states of federal dollars and political representation, while virtually erasing 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 for the benefit of all,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
“Three federal courts have unanimously ruled against the addition of the citizenship question, and our community urges the Supreme Court to affirm their decision,” said Natalia Aristizabal, Co-Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York. “The census is fundamental for our democracy, and across the country, immigrant families are at risk of being undercounted if the citizenship question is added. Our community is standing up to protect our democracy by ensuring a full and accurate count of all those who reside in this country.”
Communities of color, including immigrant communities, are historically “hard to count.” A question about status would depress participation of these communities even more for fear of being separated from their loved ones. The data collected by the census is used to inform a wide range of decisions that directly impact people living in the country, independent of their status. The decisions about where to build hospitals, schools, roads and add new businesses are linked to the decennial count of the population. The distribution of more than $700 billion in federal resources is also tied to the census.
"The Census is important because each one of us needs to be counted. If the citizenship question is included in the Census, it would affect our community because people would not want to fill it out. Therefore, the necessary resources would not get into our community, and this is a way to continue segregating immigrants and communities of color,” said Maya Ledezma, CASA member.
The census also matters because an accurate count is needed to determine Congressional representation. Lower participation from Latino, Black and immigrant communities, would leave a generation without fair representation at the federal and state levels.
“A fair and accurate 2020 census is critical for the next generation of Americans to be able to thrive,” said Sulma Arias, immigration field director at Community Change and FIRM. “A question about citizenship is dangerous and is intended to intimidate our communities. That is why we are committed to ensuring each and every one of us is counted, and that our voices are heard.”