Rep. Maloney, NY Officials, Advocates Call on Congress to Remove Citizenship Census Question

Jan 18, 2019
Press Release
Advocates also call on Trump Administration to drop appeal of court decision that ordered the citizen question to be removed

NEW YORK—Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined the New York Immigration Coalition, 32BJ SEIU, elected officials and census advocates to call on Congress to pass legislation to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.  They also called on the Trump Administration to drop its appeal of a court ruling that directed the Administration to remove the question. Congresswoman Maloney is the author of the Census IDEA Act, a bill that prohibit the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census. She is also co-chair of the House Census Caucus and led 126 current and former Members of Congress on an Amicus Brief in support of the lawsuit to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

The Administration announced on Thursday that it will appeal the court’s decision, endangering a fair and accurate count of our nation.  To ensure an accurate count, Rep. Maloney is calling on Congress to fulfill its constitutionally mandated responsibility to ensure a fair and accurate Census by swiftly passing her Census IDEA Act, which will be introduced next week.  

 

“This anti-immigrant Administration’s mission to disenfranchise immigrants, their families, and their communities through the census is a clear attack on the rule of law and our democracy,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “The Trump Administration’s insistence on adding the citizenship question is meant to rig the count in their favor because they are afraid that the changing demographics of our country will hurt the Republican Party’s electoral prospects. But the census is not a game to be played with. Census data affects the very core of our democracy and how we decide representation in every level of government. We need to pass the Census IDEA Act and remove the cloud of the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.”

“This week’s ruling is a major win for New Yorkers and Americans across the country who believe in a fair and accurate count of the residents of our nation,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “Mandating a question about citizenship on the census would not only undermine our immigrant communities, but would greatly impact funding for critical programs and our ability to determine fair representation in government. I am proud that New York has led the charge on this issue and we will continue to fight to ensure our processes are protected and our federal government is fulfilling its responsibility to serve Americans.”

“This decision is a victory for all New Yorkers and immigrants across the country, as Judge Furman rebuked the Trump administration’s naked attempt to circumvent the law for its own gain. You cannot rig the Census as part of a white supremacist agenda led by Kris Kobach and Steve Bannon. The Trump Administration’s decision to appeal was expected, and we’re ready to fight this battle all the way up to the Supreme Court and win, but we'll need the support of our congressional members to ensure every New Yorker is counted in 2020. Immigrants are what truly make America great and we’re not going to lose a dime, or our voices to Washington D.C.," said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition.

“The attempt to ask about citizenship status in the Census is steeped in white supremacist values that would be used as a weapon to endanger accurate political representation and funding for vital services that support strong families and a just society,” said Shirley Aldebol, Vice President of 32BJ SEIU. “We support the judge’s ruling that this move is unconstitutional and anti-democratic, and applaud Rep. Maloney’s leadership in making sure that decision stands.”

“There’s a lot at stake in the 2020 Census and the citizenship question is a blatant attempt to drive down participation,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The Trump administration should just do the right thing and get on with the preparations for this crucial count.”

“I stand in solidarity with Representative Maloney and all those who oppose the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Brooklyn is the ‘hardest to count’ county in all of New York State, and the efforts of the Trump Administration to add a citizenship question would further disenfranchise our residents — 40 percent of whom are foreign-born — and their families from being counted, and therefore receiving the resources and representation they deserve,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“Our nation must have a Census free of political chicanery. The Trump Administration must halt its legal maneuvering and allow the 2020 Census to move forward without interference. I am proud to join Rep. Maloney and so many of my colleagues to demand that the Trump Administration remove the citizenship question from the upcoming Census and to call on Congress to pass legislation that protects the integrity of the Census,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

“For Queens, it is more important than ever to be as fully counted as possible, and the substantial and long-term harm from an inherently unfair undercount would far outweigh any purported benefit. Including a citizenship question on the Census is unfair to all Americans and will set the decennial survey up for failure,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The City Council is committed to continuing the fight to ensure that every New Yorker is counted in the 2020 Census. It is vital that the decennial questionnaire gets a real count of the population since it not only determines how $700 billion is distributed for critical resources such as education, but it also affects political representation. I urge the Trump administration to drop its cruel and misguided mission to undercount our valued immigrant communities in New York and across the nation, and applaud U.S. Representative Maloney for her efforts to have the citizenship question removed from the census,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“We are all equal in the eyes of God, and we should all be counted as such. The Brooklyn Complete Count Committee is working hard to ensure that every Brooklynite is fairly and accurately counted in the 2020 Census. Immigrant communities like mine depend on the success of an accurate Census count, and the citizenship question threatens to undermine that count and the resources our children and families need,” said Pastor Gilford Monrose, Leader of Brooklyn Complete Count Committee and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, one of the organizational plaintiffs in the case, said, "Our community deserves a full, and fair count in the 2020 Census. The Trump administration must accept the court’s ruling, and not add a citizenship question to the Census, which is a clear attempt to undercount and silence our immigrant communities. We will continue to organize and fight to make sure all families are counted.” 

“Adding the citizenship question to the decennial census was not only malicious and wrong, it was disruptive and chaotic,” said Steven Rubenstein, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York (ABNY) “The Census Bureau would be doing the responsible thing by providing Americans with certainty and predictability by accepting the court decision and focusing on administering the 2020 census without a citizenship question.”


“This week, the Southern District of NY ruled what NY Counts 2020 has affirmed from the beginning: that the Administrative Procedures Act prevents the Trump Administration from undermining our democracy with a census citizenship question," said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Chinese-American Planning Council and member of NY Counts 2020 "The Trump Administration’s decision to appeal was expected, and we know that our representatives in Congress will fight to make sure the census is not comprised. For the good and well-being of all New Yorkers, NY Counts 2020 will continue to advocate at all levels of our government to ensure a fair and accurate count."

 “The recent court decision blocking the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is both responsible and wise, and we hope the President will abide by that decision,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of Tech:NYC “The truth is immigrants make a major contribution to our country, including in New York’s tech sector where 47% of workers are foreign born. Our country has always been the top destination for creators, thinkers, and workers from across the globe, but a citizenship question would send a not-so-subtle message to immigrants that they are not welcome in America. Accurate census data is important to our democracy and our economy, and the addition of a citizenship question would deter people from even responding.”

Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., Center for Law and Social Justice (CLSJ) General Counsel, noted that Judge Furman’s ruling was round one. “The administration has filed to appeal this ruling in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and may ultimately appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s why, in addition to the legal fight, it is imperative that community advocates ramp up their local outreach and education efforts to traditionally undercounted communities. We also need states, cities, counties and the philanthropic community to increase funding for census outreach.”

“A truly representative census is the cornerstone of a healthy and equitable democracy. The plan to include a citizenship question in the upcoming census was the latest attempt by the Trump administration to stoke fear in our immigrant communities and to skew the representation in our Federal Government. We applaud the court’s ruling on this matter and we stand united with our allies and partners in calling upon this administration to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census,” said Ricky Silver of Empire State Indivisible.

“No matter what happens in court, we all have a duty to work diligently for a complete Census count in 2020,” said Thomas Yu, co-executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. “AAFE would like to thank our elected officials for standing up for what’s right in the face of an all-out assault by this administration on immigrant rights and our American values. The mere suggestion of a citizenship question has created fear and mistrust in the neighborhoods we serve. AAFE is determined to work with our community partners for full participation in a fair and complete 2020 Census.”   

“This administration does little to hide its intention to make all Latino immigrants vanish, and to dilute the Latino voting power. LatinoJustice PRLDEF is committed to ensuring Latinx’s are not set back decades by this administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. It is imperative that we all participate in the 2020 Census, and get our friends, family and neighbors counted too. We call on the current administration to remove the citizenship question from the upcoming Census, and hope we can all work together to ensure a fair and accurate count of all people,” said Jorge Vasquez, Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF

“Our political system relies on a full and accurate census count for proper representation and allocation of resources, and with the recent ruling by Judge Furman, we urge the Trump Administration to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. As a member of New York Counts 2020, and a lead plaintiff on a similar DC based lawsuit to remove the citizenship question, the MinKwon Center will continue to fight to remove the citizenship question that will unquestionably lead to an undercount and reduce the political voice and resources of our communities in New York and across the country,” said John Park, Executive Director of MinKwon Center for Community Action

 

Background:

  • 2020 Census data will determine how more than $800 billion in federal funding is allocated, the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives, and representation in the Electoral College for the next decade. If added, the citizenship question would discourage millions of immigrants from participating in the census. The inaccurate population count will severely impact New York and other immigrant-friendly states for the next decade, costing them resources and representation in government.
  • On Tuesday, a US District Court Judge ordered the Commerce Department to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census, after New York led 17 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit challenging this question. 
  • The court case decided on January 15, State of NY et al v. US Dept of Commerce, is a New York State-led case of 18 states and the District of Columbia against the Trump Administration to prevent the politicization of the 2020 Census with the inclusion of a citizenship question.
  • The Amicus Brief submitted by the Congresswoman and 126 current and former Members of Congress argued 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. The brief can be read in full here.

 

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