Rep. Maloney, Leader Pelosi, House & Senate Democrats Submit Amicus Brief Supporting States Against Trump Administration’s Attempt to Add a Citizenship Question to the 2020 Census

Jun 15, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus and author the of the 2020 Census IDEA Act, and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi led 120 current House and Senate Democrats on an amicus brief submitted today in support of the New York State-led lawsuit seeking to stop the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

As the Amicus Brief states, the Census Bureau has long recognized that any effort to ascertain citizenship will inevitably jeopardize the overall accuracy of the population count. These fears are now at an all-time high given threats by the Trump administration that “every immigrant in the country without papers…should be uncomfortable,” “should look over their shoulder,” and “needs to be worried”. Indeed, the Census Bureau’s own evidence demonstrated “an unprecedented groundswell in confidentiality and data sharing concerns, particularly among immigrants or those who live with immigrants.”  

The brief argues that both Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment make clear that the census is intended to count all people residing in the United States both citizen and non-citizen alike. Despite the Secretary of Commerce’s authority to determine the “Manner” of taking the census, this authority does not give the Secretary power to do an “end-run” around his constitutional duty to count all persons. Furthermore, the addition of an untested citizenship question does not, in any way, advance any legitimate governmental interest.

“Every effort must be made to fight the Trump Administration’s unconstitutional assault on our census,” said Rep. Maloney. “That is why today, I am proud to submit, with Leader Pelosi and many of my House colleagues, this amicus brief in support of the multi-state lawsuit to prevent the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Our democracy depends on a full and accurate count of our nation and the Trump Administration cannot be allowed to compromise that.”

“The Census is a pillar of our democracy, ensuring that everyone is counted and represented,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “It is deeply disturbing that the Trump Administration put politics over the Constitution by pushing a citizenship question in the Census.  This dangerous decision will inject fear and distrust into vulnerable communities and cause traditionally undercounted communities to be even further under-represented, financially excluded and left behind.  I salute Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney for her continued leadership, and am proud to join her and many of our Democratic colleagues in submitting this vital amicus brief to protect the strong, accurate and nonpartisan Census that our democracy and Constitution demand.”

The brief can be read in full here.