WASHINGTON, D.C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine issued the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s decision blocking the Trump Administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
“The Supreme Court concluded that, as my Democratic Attorneys General and I argued, the reasons for adding the citizenship questions were contrived,” said AG Racine. “President Trump’s administration sought to add the questions to scare immigrants into not participating in the Census which would have deprived the District of critical resources. I applaud the Court’s decision because it upholds the very foundation of our democracy—every person counts. Now, we move on to the important work of ensuring District residents know that it is critically important that each and every single person in the District and across the country is counted.”
In April 2018, AG Racine filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration for its unlawful decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. After the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York agreed with AG Racine and blocked the addition of the citizenship question in January 2019, the Trump Administration appealed directly to the Supreme Court claiming they needed a final decision by the end of June to make their deadline to print the census questionnaire.
Adding this question to the census could have discouraged turnout in immigrant communities, having lasting consequences on states’ political representation and access to critical funds earmarked for education, infrastructure, healthcare, and more. Immigrants accounted for nearly 15 percent of District residents in 2017, according to the Migration Policy Institute’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, and about one in four immigrants in the District is undocumented, according to data gathered by the Pew Research Center.
The District of Columbia stood to lose millions of federal dollars if all its residents were not counted accurately in the census. Among the federal funds that use census population data to allocate spending are Highway Trust Fund grants, Urbanized Area Formula Grants for transportation projects, and Child Care Development Grant funds. In addition, the District uses U.S. Census information to draw ward, Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and voting precinct boundaries.
Outreach to Ensure Accurate Census
States across the country, including the District of Columbia, will now move forward with education and outreach campaigns to ensure the most accurate count so that district lines best reflect local communities and that federal funds are properly appropriated back to states, cities, and counties. The U.S. Census Bureau will conduct ‘Non-Response Follow Ups’ to any household that does not complete the census in its entirety. Residents can avoid a follow up by self-responding.
Under Title 13 of the U.S. Code, census data is strictly confidential and can only be used for statistical purposes. Information provided cannot be used against residents by any government agency or court of law. More information about the Census Bureau’s protection of personal, identifiable information can be found here.
To reach as many people across the country as possible, the Census Bureau will allow responses online or over the phone in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, and Tagalog. Respondents who respond in print will be able to do so in English or Spanish.