Things That Matter

Minority Communities Can Breathe A Little Easier, For Now, As The Supreme Court Blocks Citizenship Question From 2020 Census

The Supreme Court at least temporarily blocked a citizenship question from the 2020 census Thursday, avoiding a change that experts say could lead to a major undercount of many states with large immigrant communities and far-reaching ramifications for federal funding and political clout.

News broke that the US Supreme Court has voted not to allow the racist citizenship question on next year’s census.

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In a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal members of the court in ruling that the Trump administration’s explanation for adding the question to the census — to improve compliance with the Voting Rights Act — did not hold water. At the same time, Roberts and the more conservative members rejected the argument that a citizenship question is inherently unconstitutional.

The justices upheld a lower court decision demanding more explanation from the Commerce Department, which means the question will be blocked unless the administration can provide a more satisfactory explanation for its motives.

And it turns out that Justice Roberts, a conservative, voted with the Liberal justices to block the questions.

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However, many pointed out that he sided with the conservatives justices in their dissent on the citizenship question not being inherently wrong or illegal.

He only sided with the Liberals, many say, as a reminder to Trump to basically learn how to lie better to provide the court the cover it needs to enact the president’s racist agenda.

The decision comes just days before a June 30 deadline set by the Census Bureau, after which it said it needs to start printing the census forms. But if that deadline is extended, the administration could have more time to provide a new explanation and get the question on the census.

However, the threat to minority communities isn’t over yet.

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Legal challengers in the case have said the administration’s reasons were the opposite – to dilute minority representation – and they said additional evidence has come to light recently that supports their claims.

A Maryland federal judge this week said that evidence, which came from the files of a GOP political consultant who died last year, “potentially connects the dots between a discriminatory purpose – diluting Hispanics’ political power – and Secretary Ross’s decision.”

The evidence wasn’t directly before the Supreme Court when it took up the case, though it has received additional legal filings from both sides in recent weeks. New lower court proceedings are pending, though it isn’t clear what impact, if any, those will have after the high court’s ruling.

Many took to Twitter to point the Trump Administration is already using other methods to undercount Latinos, refugees, and other minority groups.

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States like California could actually lose seats in the House of Representatives along with billions of dollars in federal funding. The threat to our communities is very real.

So how did we get here?

It’s been a long and complicated road to this US Supreme Court decision.

Reactions on Twitter to the breaking news have been swift.

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Many were happy to see the court making a decision based on law and not partisan politics. Others were just glad to have a bit more time for the lower courts to address the shocking allegations of a conspiracy related to the citizenship question.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder had some thoughts on the case as well…

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Obama’s former Attorney General also pointed out the suspicious origins of the citizenship question after recent documents came to light.

There’s no word yet on whether or not the Trump Administration is going to pursue other legal avenues to get the question on the 2020 Census.

READ: The 2020 Census Will Include A Question Asking About Citizenship And It Will Be Disastrous For Our Community

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There Is No Citizenship Question In The Census 2020 But People Are Still Cautious About Answering The Survey

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There Is No Citizenship Question In The Census 2020 But People Are Still Cautious About Answering The Survey

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April 1 is officially Census Day. That means between April and the end of July you can expect someone to knock on your door and ask you a couple of questions such as “The number of people living or staying at your home” and “is your home owned or rented?” and “The sex of each person in the household.” This month, however, people are already getting notices to let them know what will be taking place in a couple of months. There are some people in the country that are not looking forward to this kind of intrusion. Some of those people are actually quite afraid of answering personal questions. 

Even though the Census 2020 will not include any citizenship questions, people are still suspicious about answering the survey at all.  

On January 10, Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, spoke in front of Congress to inform them that the Latino community is afraid of opening their doors to Census workers and answering their questions. 

“They believe there will be a citizenship question on the form despite its absence and many fear how the data will be used,” Vargas said. His entire statement was posted on Facebook. “This is exacerbated by a hostile environment toward immigrants propagated by this administration.”

But it’s not just the Latino community that is cautious about answering the Census questions but Asians too. 

“When the administration proposed to add the citizenship question without any testing, we knew right away we had a five-alarm fire … like any fire, the damage that has been done takes time to repair,” John Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, also told Congress, according to NBC News

The hearing last week took place in an effort to understand why there are difficulties in getting accurate information from people living in the U.S. One of the obstacles that were discussed, aside from their fear of citizenship questions, is that Census workers are not reaching out to “hard-to-count” communities. 

“Hard-to-count communities are in every state and district, from large urban areas to rural and remote communities, including American Indian tribal lands and reservations,” Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, told NBC News. 

So why is it important for everyone to answer the Census 2020 questions accurately?

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Some people might not truly grasp the severity of answering the Census 2020 questions. It’s not just a survey but a way to track every person living in the U.S. to get proper funding for programs, schools, and a lot more. 

“The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be taken every ten years to count all people—both citizens and non-citizens—living in the United States,” a PBS report states. “Responding to the Census is mandatory because getting a complete and accurate count of the population is critically important. An accurate count of the population serves as the basis for fair political representation and plays a vital role in many areas of public life.”

Aside from public funding, having an accurate assessment of each individual will help in times of natural disasters and emergency responses. Federal funds are also distributed based on population. Another crucial factor in gathering accurate information is that when it comes to voting, the government understands how many representatives are needed for each district. 

While the Census has always faced issues in trying to gather the most accurate information, it was during the Trump Administration that minority communities became distrusting of information the government was requesting. 

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Since 2018, the Trump administration pushed to have a citizenship question added to the Census 2020 but got immediate pushback from virtually everyone. Even the Supreme Court ruled that a citizenship question was off the table. He still pushed for it. Several immigration organizations, however, went after Trump’s agenda and sued against his tactics. 

“President Trump is adding the citizenship question into his toxic stew of racist rants and draconian policies in order to stoke fear, undercount, and strip political power from immigrant communities,” Sarah Brannon, Managing Attorney, ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement last summer. 

Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition, added to her sentiment by saying, “A citizenship question on the U.S. census is toxic to New York’s four million immigrants and all New Yorkers, who stand to lose millions of dollars in federal aid and representation in Congress. We will use every tool at our disposal to fight for a fair and accurate count. This is our New York and we’re not going to lose a dime, or our voices, to the Trump administration in Washington D.C.”

About a month later, Trump gave up his Census fight. Yet still, people remain fearful and untrusting of government questions. But can you blame them?

READ: Latinos NEED to Count All Their Children for the 2020 Census

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Minority Communities Can Breathe A Little Easier As It’s Announced The 2020 Census Won’t Have The Citizenship Question Afterall

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Minority Communities Can Breathe A Little Easier As It’s Announced The 2020 Census Won’t Have The Citizenship Question Afterall

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After weeks of uncertainty, it looks like we finally know the next steps for the 2020 Census.

It seemed all but clear today, Trump was going to try to use his executive authority to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. But at a news conference Thursday evening, Trump admitted defeat on the census and instead will be directing federal agencies to do his bidding for him.

Many imigrant rights activists and minority community leaders are claiming victory since having the citizenship question on the census could have intimidated some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations from participating.

At a Rose Garden press conference, Trump announced that he is giving up on his attempt to include the controversial citizenship question.

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President Trump announced Thursday he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead take executive action that instructs the Commerce Department to obtain an estimate of U.S. citizenship through other means.

“I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country,” Trump said in a Rose Garden announcement Thursday afternoon. “They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately. We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population.”

Instead, Trump ordered government agencies to share information to figure out how many undocumented people are living in the US.

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And this has people wondering what will his government attempt to do with this information?

Also, many noted that the plan Trump is following now is the exact same plan the Census Bureau suggested last year but the administration ignored it only to return to it nearly a year later.

Trump’s press conference also showed that his White House is 100% running on chaos.

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The final announcement also comes just hours after it was reported Trump was going to use an executive order to try and add the question to the 2020 Census – completely defying the Supreme Court.

Obviously, the administation is running on chaos as few people seem to know what the President is going to do from hour to hour.

Trump’s announcement comes just weeks after the Supreme Court denied the administration’s attempt to include the question.

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The Supreme Court late last month blocked a citizenship question from being added to the 2020 census.

The bitter controversy centers around whether the administration can ask all recipients a citizenship question on the 2020 census for the first time since 1950 — a move that could impact the balance of power in states and the House of Representatives, which are based on total population.

Adding the question, critics say, could result in minorities being undercounted by scaring off even legal residents or naturalized citizens from completing the questionnaire, which is also used to determine funding for an array of important government programs.

Many treated the news as a victory for immigrant’s rights and minority communities.

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Immigration and civil rights groups opposing the administration’s efforts have argued that including a citizenship question on the census could reduce response rates in immigrant communities, resulting in federal funding cuts to areas with high minority populations and congressional districts being drawn in a fashion that would politically advantage Republicans.

A Census Bureau report released just last month estimated that adding the question was likely to reduce responses in households with at least one non-citizen by at least 8 percent.

Even though he was expected to back away from the citizenship question, lawmarkers were still worried.

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Given that Trump had even floated the idea of defying a court order from the US Supreme Court shows that he tends to think like a dictator.

This has given many people many things to worry about.

One reporter noted the ominous sound of thunder rumbling overhead as Trump outlined his administration’s next steps.

I mean, why doesn’t this surprise me? His alternative plan to the citizenship question on the census is still to identify the number of undocumented people living in the country. What will he do with that information?

READ: Latinos Face Severe Underrepresentation With 2020 Census, Here’s Why That Matters

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