New York, NY – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to block, at least for now, the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. JCPA has long opposed the U.S. Commerce Department’s plan to add a citizenship status question, which we believe would deter immigrants from participating and undermine the accuracy and fairness of the Census.
The Supreme Court remanded the case back to the New York District Court, ruling that the Commerce Department’s justification for the question is inadequate and seems “contrived.” The Court upheld the lower court’s decision to send the citizenship question back to the Census Bureau for further explanation, preventing the question’s addition to the survey.
“We applaud the Supreme Court justices for protecting the integrity of the Census. But even as we celebrate this victory, we are mindful of the fear already instilled in the immigrant community and will continue working to ensure that everyone is counted,” said David Bernstein, President and CEO of JCPA. “These once-in-a-decade surveys are the basis for determining funding and political representation. Undercounting populations prevents a fair provision of government services and undermines our representative democracy.”
With census forms set to go to printing over the summer, it is unlike that the Census Bureau can afford to wait until a final decision is rendered by the federal courts. JCPA urges the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau to respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately proceed with preparations for a 2020 Census that does not include the citizenship question.