Supreme Court Blocks Administration’s Attempt to Jeopardize an Accurate Census

This statement can be attributed to Olivia Golden, executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

June 27, 2019, Washington, D.C.—The U.S. Supreme Court today affirmed the crucial importance of an accurate and inclusive census by ruling that, for now, the citizenship question cannot be added to the 2020 U.S. Census. In recent weeks, more evidence has emerged that the desire to add this question was politically motivated to suppress participation in the census among immigrant communities. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Trump Administration’s justification for the addition of this question is not sufficiently credible to go forward at this time and has sent it back to the Department of Commerce for additional action.

Census data inform countless political, legislative, and administrative decisions in a given decade, including the apportionment of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the distribution of $800 billion in federal funds annually. The current political environment has led immigrants of all backgrounds—including those with lawful status and those living in families with U.S. citizens—to be increasingly fearful of interactions with government agencies due to increased immigration enforcement activities and other anti-immigrant policy changes.

Given that context, the Commerce Department and Census Bureau should respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately move forward with preparation for a 2020 Census without the citizenship question and ensure that everyone is counted. The accurate representation of everyone in our country in the census is core to our democracy and crucial to the accurate apportionment of political representation and federal resources. It is particularly crucial to children, who would have been disproportionately affected by the damaging undercount produced by the citizenship question.

It is critically important that every individual residing in the United States be counted in the 2020 Census. CLASP stands with our partners in our commitment to an accurate census and to pushing back against the administration’s relentless attacks on immigrant communities. We support efforts to increase community outreach and education to ensure that all communities are equipped with the information they need to participate in the 2020 Census.