New York, NY, June 27, 2019 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to block the Commerce Department’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census for the time being. The Court labeled the Commerce Department’s rationale for adding the question – voting rights enforcement – as “contrived,” and sent the case back for further deliberations.
ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt issued the following statement:
We welcome the Court’s decision to block the Commerce Department’s attempt to add an unnecessary and discriminatory citizenship question to the 2020 census for the time being, and to maintain the integrity of the 2020 census. At ADL we have long opposed adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census as it would inevitably lead to undercounting historically under-represented communities, including immigrants. We have also questioned the motivations of such efforts, especially given the Trump administration’s incessant, harsh anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric. With this decision, the Court importantly recognized the false, pretextual basis of the citizenship question.
The citizenship question has already chilled participation of immigrant communities in our democracy and spread fear that census information would be used for immigration enforcement purposes. The consequences of inaccurate census data would be felt acutely in states with growing immigrant communities and communities of color.
Contrary to what the Commerce Department has argued, the citizenship question is not necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act (VRA). Just the opposite, the citizenship question would undermine VRA enforcement by causing a disproportionate undercount of the very communities the law was designed to protect, including immigrants.
The Commerce Department and the Census Bureau now need to respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately proceed with preparations for a census without the citizenship question, preserving the constitutional and statutory responsibility to conduct a full enumeration of the U.S. population.
ADL is committed to continuing our work with coalition allies to ensure full and accurate participation in the census. We will continue to fight efforts that heighten fears across marginalized communities and distort our democratic process.
ADL joined with over 170 organizations on an amicus brief to the Supreme Court that explained how the citizenship question would inevitably lead to undercount of historically under-represented communities, including immigrants, and refuted the government’s argument that including a citizenship question is necessary to enforce the VRA.