Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case challenging Commerce Secretary Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Last year, the Trump administration gave a green light to adding an untested, and dangerous citizenship question to the 2020 Census–a move that could lead to severe undercounts of communities of colors and immigrants. As plaintiffs in the case the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) reaffirms that the addition of a citizenship question violates the U.S. Constitution and infringe on the rights of marginalized and immigrant communities. The ADC calls on the Supreme Court to strike down the citizenship question and uphold the rule of law for the protection of the intent of the Census to be fair and accurate.
The U.S. Constitution stipulates that the government is required to conduct a census every 10 years, and the goal is clear: to count all people living in the United States without exception — adults and children, citizens and non citizens alike. The data collected in the Census helps determine how more than $800 billion in federal resources will be distributed, including where schools, roads and hospitals are built, as well as providing the basis for funding for other essential programs and services.
By the administration’s own analysis, adding a citizenship question would stop “approximately 6.5 million people” from participating. As a result, states could unfairly lose a seat in the House of Representatives; and numerous other states will lose the funding they deserve for federal programs. The politically driven citizenship question compromises the Census Bureau’s constitutional responsibility to conduct a fair and accurate count of every person living in the United States.
ADC stands firmly against the underlying discriminatory goals of this administration and reasserts the unconstitutionality of the citizenship question on the U.S. Census. A fair and accurate 2020 Census is critical for everyone – particularly those communities most likely to be undercounted, such as the Arab-American community. ADC will continue to work to make sure all communities are counted, without exception, and that our voices are heard.