Citizenship Question On Census ‘Toxic’ For New York And Our Nation

(Photo/U.S. Census Bureau/Public Information Office)

Responding to the announcement that a question on citizenship would be added to the U.S. Census, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and partners including elected officials, Census experts, and labor leaders denounced the question and simultaneously launched the New York Counts 2020 campaign to ensure a fair and accurate Census to protect all New Yorkers.

“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 aide and political power in Congress. New York Counts 2020 will empower local municipalities to reach historically hard to count populations and get the resources we need and deserve. This is our New York and we’re not going to lose a dime, or our voices, to Washington D.C.” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of the NYIC.

Last month, a unified group of 19 Long Island organizations wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to oppose the addition of the question. Many experts, officials, and advocates believe the question could not only instill fear in communities, but could also lead to a severe undercount.

The request to add the question was made in a December 12 letter, obtained by ProPublica, from DOJ General Counsel Arthur Gary to head of the Census Bureau, acting director Ron Jarmin. The census has not included questions about immigration since 1950.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also announced yesterday that he will spearhead a multistate coalition to sue the Trump administration for violating both the 14th Amendment, as well as the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution that mandates the Census.

“The Trump Administration’s reckless decision to suddenly abandon nearly 70 years of practice by demanding to know the citizenship status of each resident counted cuts to the heart of this sacred obligation – and will create an environment of fear and distrust in immigrant communities that would make impossible both an accurate Census and the fair distribution of federal tax dollars,” Schneiderman stated.

The Trump administration is creating an atmosphere of fear that is attempting to make immigrants, regardless of their status, afraid to participate in civic duties. The Census is supposed to count all people living in the United States, so we know who we truly are. Not only does this establish our identity as a multicultural nation, but it also ensures Long Island gets the federal funding it needs and deserves.

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