Maloney Leads 40+ Members in Asking Trump Administration to Drop Census Citizenship Question Appeal

Jan 24, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus and author of the Census IDEA Act, legislation to block the inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census, led 44 of her colleagues in urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to drop their appeal against the ruling that the citizenship question must be removed from the 2020 Census.

In their letter to the Secretary and the Acting AG, the members write, “We believe, as a matter of both legality and timing, that it is neither in the nation’s, nor the American people’s interest to continue the appellate process. We believe that the administration should devote its resources to preparing for the 2020 Census without the cloud of the citizenship question hanging over the process.”

Printing for the 2020 Census questionnaire will begin in June and the Census Bureau still needs to conduct additional testing and hire thousands of employees.

Joining the Congresswoman on the letter are; Julia Brownley (D-CA), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Judy Chu (D-CA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Jim Cooper (D-TM), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Jesus G. "Chuy" Garcia (D-IL), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Brain Higgins (D-NY), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson (D-GA), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), John Lewis (D-GA), Ted W. Lieu (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), Betty McCollum (D-MN), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Joseph D. Morelle (D-NY), Grace F. Napolitano (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), Jose E. Serrano (D-NY), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Darren Soto (D-FL), Greg Stanton (D-AZ), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), and Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL).

Full text of the letter below and a PDF can be found here.

Dear Secretary Ross and Acting Attorney General Whitaker,

As you know, on January 15, 2019, Judge Jesse Furman of the Southern District of New York, issued a ruling in New York et al. v. Department of Commerce striking down the decision to add a citizenship question on the 2020 Decennial Census. On January 17, the administration announced its intent to appeal this ruling. We believe, as a matter of both legality and timing, that it is neither in the nation’s, nor the American people’s interest to continue the appellate process. We believe that the administration should devote its resources to preparing for the 2020 Census without the cloud of the citizenship question hanging over the process.

Judge Furman’s decision was clear and comprehensive. Not only did he find that the Department of Commerce violated numerous provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act and the Census Act when it added the citizenship question, he also agreed with the concerns that many of us have raised about the impact this question would have on Census participation.   Citing the Department of Commerce’s own documents and expert witness, the judge confirmed that “adding a citizenship question will result in a significant reduction in self-response rates among noncitizen and Hispanic households…which means that hundreds of thousand--if not millions--of people will go uncounted in the census if the citizenship question is included.”

With the Census questionnaire set to go to print in June, we urge the Administration to dedicate its efforts and resources to the remaining matters of decennial preparation that have been subject to this decision. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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