June 27, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2019
Asian American Civil Rights Groups Celebrate SCOTUS Ruling on Citizenship Question, But Remain Vigilant
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Today, the Supreme Court held that the Census Bureau’s purported reason for adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census was false. Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice-ALC) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) celebrate today’s decision while anticipating future battles over the fate of the citizenship question.
“We applaud today’s recognition that the Census Bureau was untruthful in its rationale for adding the untested and unnecessary question,” said An Le, 2020 Census Statewide Network Manager at Advancing Justice-LA. “Today’s decision affirms that we all matter. Our communities cannot be erased — we are here to be counted.”
The prospect of the citizenship question continues to raise fear among immigrant communities. If the Trump Administration continues to fight for a citizenship question, it will have to put forward a revised explanation for including it in a lower court in New York. It is unclear if the Census Bureau’s timeline for printing census questionnaires will permit that.
Despite strong confidentiality protections for census responses that ensure a household’s census form cannot be handed over to immigration authorities or any other government agency, the ongoing dispute over a citizenship question contributes to fear of the census among our communities and will ultimately lead to lower response rates and inaccurate census data.
The census happens once every ten years and is one of the few opportunities for the government to obtain an accurate count of all communities. Census data determines how federal funding is allocated yearly to infrastructure, education, and programs like SNAP. They are also key indicators in determining how many Congressional seats each state gets and help determine the drawing of political district lines. For these reasons, a fair and accurate census is critical.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court saw through the Trump Administration’s claim that the citizenship question was added to promote voting rights. It was actually designed to intimidate and discriminate against communities of color,” said Julia Marks, Voting Rights Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice-ALC. “It’s up to us to continue to fight against future efforts to include a citizenship question and to ensure that we, our friends, our families, and communities participate in the census and get counted.”
Both Advancing Justice-ALC and Advancing Justice-LA are committed to getting out the count for 2020. We are proud members of Census Counts, a diverse nationwide coalition dedicated to ensuring all historically undercounted communities are included in the census, and are leading a statewide network of Asian and Pacific Islander organizations in California to ensure that every person in our community is counted.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.