Members of Congress Question City Officials About 2020 Census

May 29, 2019
In The News

$73 billion per-year or $2,700 per New Yorker -- that’s how much money could be at risk if New York City's population isn’t properly counted in the upcoming 2020 census.

"Everyone must be counted. Not just citizens, not just legal residents but everyone,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney.

As the Trump administration moves forward with its effort to include a citizenship question in the census, public officials are sounding the alarm and rolling out public awareness campaigns to ensure no one skips out on the count.  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez questioned city officials on Tuesday about their efforts to educate New Yorkers ahead of the count.

Members of the House Oversight and Reform subcommittee held this hearing in Queens, specifically to learn what local government is doing to ensure all New Yorkers are counted.

Julie Menin Director of the Census for New York City said the city is continuing its fight against the inclusion of the citizenship question.

"It's very clear that this question, which hasn't been on the census in over 70 years, is an attempt by the Trump administration to intimidate immigrant communities and communities of color," Menin said.

The Trump administration has said citizenship data from all households through the 2020 must be gathered in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But the proposal has faced backlash by government officials and is being challenged in court. Judges have ruled the requirement is unconstitutional, but the Trump administration has pressed on with appeals.

It’s not just money at stake. Councilman Carlos Menchaca, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn said political representation is also at risk.

“The census also determines political representation and New York is at risk of losing two congressional seats. The White House is no friend and the federal government is no friend to New York. We need a congressional delegation,” Menchaca said.

Whether the question is included in the forms or not, city officials said Tuesday the city is working to educate vulnerable communities -- including those least likely to report -- that the census is safe.

“The census information is confidential; we want to make sure that people know that. The federal census bureau cannot share that information. We’re going to really go to the mat and make sure that every New Yorker is counted and that we get our fair share,” Menin said.

The city is planning to spend up to $26 million dollars this year to educate New Yorkers about the coming census. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a final ruling on the citizenship question by the end of session in June.