CAPAC Members on Department of Commerce v. New York Supreme Court Decision

Jun 27, 2019 Issues: Civil Rights, Immigration

Washington, DC —  Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Department of Commerce V. New York to block the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) released the following statements:

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27), CAPAC Chair:

“Today’s Supreme Court Decision to temporarily strike down the Census Bureau’s attempt to include a racially motivated citizenship question in the 2020 Census was a victory for our democracy. The inclusion of a citizenship questioned would have jeopardized our ability to have an accurate census count and ensure adequate funding for vital programs like Community Development Block Grants, housing vouchers, Medicaid, highway planning construction, and new schools. For every person that is not counted, a city could lose $2000 per person. An undercount would also result in states with large immigrant and minority populations such as California, New York, and Texas losing representation in Congress.

“Those things are still at stake if the Census Bureau finds another way to justify the inclusion of the citizenship question before they print the 2020 Census, so we must continue to remain vigilant. The Trump Administration’s attempt to politicize the census has already had a chilling effect on traditionally hard to count communities, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. That’s why we must make every effort possible to ensure that communities of color are counted.

“In May, I met with representatives from nearly every city in my district to emphasize what is at stake. I urged every city to create a complete count committee that will take steps to ensure that every person is counted, because the stakes for our local communities are too high. I am planning on pushing forward with that effort and others leading up to April 2020 to ensure the 2020 Census count is accurate.”

Congresswoman Grace Meng (NY-06), CAPAC First Vice Chair:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has blocked the Trump administration today from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Decennial Census and I am hopeful that in the end a citizenship question will not be included on the questionnaire. From the beginning, the citizenship question was grounded in racist and reckless intent. The administration has continuously lied about how and why they sought to add this question – including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lying directly to my face during a House hearing last year. The evidence speaks for itself – and it most certainly does not pass the smell test. The discovery of documents showing that a Republican strategist communicated with a top census official about the issue, and President Trump invoking executive privilege on subpoenaed citizenship question-related materials, further illustrate the administration’s politicization of the census, and its attempt to skew it in favor of the GOP. This blatant weaponization of the census is unconscionable and shameful, and it has constantly undermined the process. Ultimately, the Supreme Court said the Secretary using the Voting Rights Act enforcement as rationale behind the question was ‘contrived.’ While we can celebrate today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, it is imperative that we do everything humanly possible to obtain a complete and accurate census count. We must communicate to all our fellow neighbors that responding to the census is of national importance. There must be as much outreach as possible, and it must be done as early as possible, to help ensure that everybody knows the importance of participating in the census. We must not allow an undercount to shortchange our neighborhoods and communities, and deny us the critical resources to fix our roads, fund our schools, support our elderly, or limit congressional representation. We will not be erased, we will not be underrepresented, and we must make every attempt to ensure that every person is counted. There are no do-overs with the census; a mistake is a 10-year mistake. The best response to the addition of this question is to get the fullest count possible.”

Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), CAPAC Second Vice Chair :

“Communities across America can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. While today’s Supreme Court decision brought us good news, we cannot ignore that efforts to undermine a fair and accurate 2020 Census count still persist. The Trump Administration is determined to intimidate immigrant communities and rig our democracy in favor of Republican rule, and we must prevent that from happening. It is our responsibility to ensure a successful 2020 Census count by devoting appropriate resources to the effort, raising awareness, and encouraging every single member of our community to participate and be counted. Our democracy is at stake.”

Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33), CAPAC Whip:

“The Supreme Court Census ruling is a monumental decision that will benefit our nation for the next decade. The chances that the Commerce Department officials will suddenly come up with another justification that isn’t ‘contrived’ is near zero percent. If they actually had a valid justification to ask the citizenship question on the census, they already would have asserted it. This is great news and will ensure a more accurate Census count next year.”

Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39):

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s ruling to temporarily block the administration’s citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Constitution mandates that a census be taken every 10 years, and it should be our goal to ensure that every individual in the United States is counted,” said Rep. Cisneros. “The citizenship question was nothing more than an attempt by the President to depress the number of individuals and families who would complete the census.  Rather than discouraging people, the President should be working to ensure the Census Bureau is completely funded, fully staffed, and has the resources needed for a strong marketing campaign to encourage participation. Our work does not stop here, I will continue to reach out to the communities in my district who have been undercounted and underserved so that they can receive the business investments and delivery of public services they need.”

Congressman TJ Cox (CA-21):

“Today’s SCOTUS decisions show us the fight isn’t over yet. Regardless of congressional district boundaries and citizenship questions, we can’t let this administration spoil the entire upcoming 2020 Census for partisan political purposes. An inaccurate Census would be devastating for my congressional district, jeopardizing everything from economic development, to health care, to the Central Valley’s representation in Congress.

“To protect our livelihood we need to make sure our communities are counted correctly in the 2020 Census. It’s up to us to ensure our immigrant and minority populations get the representation they deserve.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively prevent the untested, unnecessary, and ill-timed citizenship question from being included in the 2020 Census today.

“The U.S. Census should make our nation more equal and representative, not less. By weaponizing the Census, this Administration tried to intimidate immigrants, worsen gerrymandering, and intentionally undercount communities of color.

“Now we must begin the work of ensuring that we fully count our communities, which is why I am dedicated to working with my congressional colleagues to make sure we make the proper investments to see that happen. 

“No one in our nation should go uncounted. Our democracy works best when we count everyone.” 

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40):

“The Supreme Court has turned back President Trump’s unconstitutional attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.  This ruling is a victory for an accurate, comprehensive, and complete Census count.  Trump is eager to silence the voices of vulnerable populations in our communities; that’s why he wanted a Census citizenship question that will dramatically undercount these populations.  An accurate and complete 2020 Census is essential to ensuring our communities receive the federal funds we need for countless critical programs, including Medicare and Medicaid, school lunches, highway funding, housing assistance, and more.  While the Court’s ruling is a victory for our nation, our House Democratic Majority will stay vigilant, and fight any further efforts to sabotage a fair and accurate 2020 Census.”

Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51):

“SCOTUS has issued a victory to immigrants and communities of color across the United States by blocking the citizenship question. However, the fight for justice is far from over. We will continue working to ensure our communities are counted and have a voice in our democracy.”

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.