Citizenship question is off 2020 census….for now

Stephon Johnson | 7/3/2019, 10:10 a.m.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked the citizenship question inclusion in the 2020 census. So President Donald Trump’s administration has decided to delay the census distribution.

The Trump administration delayed the release of the 2020 census as it contemplates whether or not to wait out the courts making a “final decision” on the matter. While the count of the 2020 census is supposed to begin in Alaska next January, the delay in printing could cause some chaos. While the administration wants to include a citizenship question, the Census wouldn’t ask a person about their immigration status.

Elected officials quickly chimed in on the court’s ruling.

“Since the administration in Washington first proposed adding a citizenship question to the census, leaders in New York and across the country have questioned their motives,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie in an emailed statement. “Today, those concerns were validated.”

“The Trump administration’s attempts to politicize the census process has been shameful,” added New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in a statement. “The Supreme Court’s decision to block the citizenship question was the right one. Every person must be counted to ensure that the services and resources provided to our communities truly reflect their needs. The Senate Democratic Majority remains committed to fighting for all of our state’s residents.”

When asked by reporters in the Oval Office why he wanted the citizenship question included, Trump said, “I think it’s very important to find out if somebody is a citizen as opposed to an illegal.”

Census forms needed to be finalized by the end of last month in order to print them in time for 2020. The Supreme Court found it “contrived” that the administration wants to enforce the Voting Rights Act better via asking about citizenship.

Congressman Adriano Espaillat said that while the decision was mixed, he’s glad that the court was skeptical about the administration’s motives.

“Notably, the decision reads that, ‘Viewing the evidence as a whole, we share the District Court’s conviction that the decision to reinstate a citizenship question cannot be adequately explained in terms of DOJ’s request for improved citizenship data to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. Several points, considered together, reveal a significant mismatch between the decision the Secretary made and the rationale he provided,’” stated Espaillat. “The Court sees right through the administration’s blatant lie that it needed to include a citizenship question to expand and enforce voting rights.”

But some advocacy organizations say that the attempt to include a citizenship question has already done damage.

“We applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 census, but the proposal alone has already hurt our chances of getting a complete and accurate count,” stated United Neighborhood Homes Executive Director Susan Stamler. “Trusted community organizations like settlement houses are embedded in hard-to-count communities and are best suited to dispel fears around the citizenship question, mitigate concerns that the federal government will compromise census data, and encourage every New Yorker to be counted.”