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Amicus Filed to the Supreme Court Recognizing the Impact A Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census Will Have on All Latinos

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Amicus Filed to the Supreme Court Recognizing the Impact A Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census Will Have on All Latinos

Location: 
New York, NY

CONTACT: Christiaan Perez, cperez@latinojustice.org, 212-739-7581

New York, NY - In a few weeks, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments to decide the fate of the “Citizenship Question” in the 2020 Census.  LatinoJustice and Locke Lord LLP, along with some of the nation’s most prominent Latino, and other community nonprofit organizations, filed an Amicus, also known as a “friend of the court” brief. This brief details why the Supreme Court should affirm the district court’s ruling that the citizenship question is unlawful and that the subsequent undercount result in a loss of federal funding to several states and a severe reduction in political power, resources and participation in the Latino community. 

The attempted inclusion of the “Citizenship Question” into the 2020 Census undermines the integrity of the Census by ignoring the review process and re-introducing a citizenship verification process that had been discarded decades ago.  The “Citizenship Question” is adding an unnecessary, burdensome step onto an already beleaguered and inadequately funded 2020 Census, and shifts an inordinate amount of that burden on the Latino community.

To combat this attempt by the current administration, LatinoJustice and its partners submitted an Amicus brief specifically outlining three key ways in which the Latino community will be harmed. Some of the points addressed in the brief are:

  1. Latino communities could lose federal funding in critical areas such as education and healthcare;
  2. Latino political power could be diluted, and non-English speaking Latino citizens could have their voting rights limited; and 
  3. Investments in the Latino community from businesses could be reduced to the point that the services provided by those companies such as access to technology could become even worse.

“Adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census is an attempt by the Trump administration to legitimize his presidency and secure his reelection by diluting political power from those most likely to vote against him, and to deplete resources from communities that oppose him. The importance of the Census can be summed up by three words - money, power and respect. Six former Census directors from both Republican and Democratic administrations warn that the citizenship question will result in consequences for decades to come. Namely, around the U.S.’s budget, congressional delegation, and faulty data. Our filed amicus brief focuses on these three topics within Latinx communities throughout the United States,” Said Jorge Luis Vasquez, Jr. Associate Counsel LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

 “For decades, the Census has been a tool for measuring the population of the United States. Today, this tool has been turned into a mechanism for gaining political points and intimidating immigrant communities. If this Citizenship Question is allowed to stand, then it will only serve to further marginalize the Latino population while invoking a fear that could suppress an accurate count. We cannot and will not let this stand,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

This Amicus pulls together the voices of over 15 other organizations focused on the struggles of the Latino community to highlight how our community could be negatively impacted. Below are a couple quotes from the organizations who joined the brief.

"The Trump Administration has attempted every way possible to harm and undermine immigrant families and communities across our country,” stated Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation. “The addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census may ultimately prove to be its most damaging attack on immigrants as entire communities and districts will be significantly undercounted, underfunded and denied the resources and representation that they deserve. Through this action, the White House wishes to promote distrust and fear, and keep a certain group of people from being counted. It goes against the very intent and purpose of the Census. We must have a full and complete count in order to keep our nation's communities economically strong, healthy, safe and secure."

"We hope our brief helps the Court see the real-world implications of the addition of the citizenship question to the Census - an action that would inevitably result in a significant undercount of the Latino population, with sweeping and disastrous effects on our communities," said Jennifer Salinas, HNBA National President.
 
 “The members and staff of The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) have been advocating tirelessly against the citizenship question since it was first proposed by Secretary Ross, including unanimously and bipartisanly approving a resolution against it. Continuing that advocacy, NHCSL is proud to join the amicus brief filed today by LatinoJustice PRLDEF, our longstanding partner on this and other issues. The Census has always been the cornerstone of America’s democracy and our republican form of government. Secretary Ross knows that many Americans, including many citizens, will shy away from answering the Census if it has a citizenship question. We therefore call on the Supreme Court to recognize that belatedly adding a citizenship question is a purposeful and unequal undermining of the founding fathers’ constitutional command to count all persons, not merely all citizens, in each decennial Census,” Said Kenneth Romero, Executive Director of NHCSL.

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LatinoJustice PRLDEF works to create a more just society by using and challenging the rule of law to secure transformative, equitable and accessible justice, by empowering our community and by fostering leadership through advocacy and education.

Background Documents

  1. Brief Filed to the Supreme Court Detailing How Latinxs Would be Negatively Impacted by the "Citizenship Question
  2. Sifting Through the Lies of the Citizenship Question