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Jul 3, 2019

NHCSL continues to fight the inclusion of a Citizenship Question on the 2020 Census

Last week, President Trump sent a tweet reviving the threat of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census. This reversed the decision announced in an email by lawyers from the Department of Justice to fellow litigants opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial Census, that the Census Bureau had decided to send the booklets to print without the question.

President Trump announced he is considering several options to include the question which was rejected by the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Department of Commerce v. New York, where NHCSL joined an amicus brief filed on our behalf and that of 14 fellow leading civil rights organizations, like the Hispanic Federation and the Hispanic National Bar Association, by LatinoJustice PRLDEF. In its decision, the highest Court agreed with NHCSL’s finding that the reason given by the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to include the question was not truthful.

NHCSL has advocated tirelessly against the citizenship question since it was first proposed by Secretary Ross, including unanimously and bipartisanly approving a resolution against it in May 2018, following another unanimously approved Resolution, Ensuring the Census Works for All Americans. Both resolutions were sponsored by then Arizona state Representative (now Senator) Otoniel “Tony” Navarrete and former Utah state Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck.

 “All residents of the United States, whether born here or immigrant, whether documented or undocumented, need to feel that the Census will be used to empower them, as it was meant to by the Framers of our Constitution, and not to persecute them, as some extreme partisans connected to the Administration intend” said NHCSL’s President, Sen. Carmelo Rios-Santiago.

 “The threat is not over but, while we continue to fight, we call on every resident of the United States to make sure to fill out the Census starting on March 2020. They can do it online or on paper. That will help to ensure everyone is fairly represented in our state legislatures and Congress and will direct millions of dollars in federal funding to where the people really are, where they are deserved,” said NHCSL Executive Director Kenneth Romero.

NHCSL remains in constant contact with other organizations advocating against the citizenship question and is prepared to file court briefings as needed. NHCSL is also advocating for definitive Congressional action to outlaw the question using other must-pass legislation.

A person's hand documents their Hispanic ethnicity on a census form.