At the U.S. Supreme Court, ADL joined with over 170 organizations on an amicus brief that refutes defendants' argument that including a citizenship question is necessary to enforce Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, explains how the VRA can be enforced without the citizenship question, and explains how the inclusion of a citizenship question will lead to an undercount of historically under-represented communities, including immigrants.
At issue in this case is a challenge by the New York Attorney General’s office and 16 states, the District of Columbia, several cities, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to stop the Commerce Department from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The lawsuit alleges that the decision violates the Constitution and the Administrative Procedures Act. ADL joined a brief with over 150 organizations, led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Muslim Advocates, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in support of NY’s challenge and a fair and accurate 2020 census. The brief argues that the misguided decision to reverse seventy years of consistent census practice and insert an untested citizenship question undermines the integrity of the count, damages communities, and violates the Census Bureau’s constitutional and statutory duties to conduct a full enumeration of the U.S. population. The citizenship question will lead, and has already led, to depressed participation in the census, particularly among families that include immigrants, young children, and people of color. The brief also notes that collecting citizenship data would undermine enforcement of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) because it would undercount minority populations who rely on that data to bring VRA claims.