NEW YORK – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus and author of the 2020 Census IDEA Act, gathered with census experts and community advocates in response to the revelation of documents showing that a Republican gerrymandering expert was the driving force behind the Trump Administration’s unconstitutional attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census. The coalition of census advocates called for increased federal resources and state funding in the communities the Trump Administration aims to undercount. Our democracy depends on a full and accurate count of our nation’s residents and the Trump Administration cannot be allowed to compromise that.
“These documents are not just a smoking gun – they are a written confession of the Trump Administration’s illegal attempt to hijack the 2020 census and remake the political landscape of this country in their image for the next decade,” said Rep. Maloney. “But, this is not Trump’s census to hijack. It is our census, because all of us, in every corner of this nation, urban and rural, rely on accurate census data for our rights and wellbeing, and we cannot afford to get it wrong. That is why we, the people, will take back our census and do the work on the ground, in our communities, to ensure every single person is engaged and counted accurately and fairly. I will work to make sure that our communities have the tools and resources we need to get this right.”
“Yesterday’s revelations confirmed our worst nightmares – that GOP political operatives in conjunction with the Trump Administration plotted for years to rig our democracy with a Census citizenship question. If Donald Trump plans to stand in the way of a complete count, it’s more important than ever that New York City and State fully fund census efforts to ensure everyone gets counted,” said New York City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Co-Chair of the Council’s 2020 Census Task Force.
“The recent revelations of the citizenship question’s origins make clear what many of us long suspected – that it is simply an underhanded attempt to redraw electoral lines and shift political power towards Republicans. This revelation makes it even more clear that we must redouble our efforts to ensure a full and accurate count, especially here in New York City. Critical to this is robust funding for community-based organizations; we must fully fund CBOs who are key to reaching the communities who are meant to be stripped of their power by this decision. But we will not let this happen, and we stand committed to fighting and making sure that all New Yorkers are counted,” said New York City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Co-Chair of the Council 2020 Census Task Force.
“Yesterday’s incredibly disturbing news regarding Thomas Hofeller’s unethical campaign to add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census has laid bare the extent of the Trump Administration’s political manipulation of this critically important exercise, one which determines our fair share of political representation and hundreds of billions in federal funds. These revelations prove what we’ve been saying all along: that the Trump Administration has been attempting to use its constitutional obligation to count us as a tool to harm us. We’ve got a clear message for them: as New Yorkers, we will not allow fear-mongering and intimidation tactics to disenfranchise or de-fund us. With the Mayor’s unprecedented $26 million investment in public engagement and awareness for the 2020 Census, we will ensure that all New Yorkers, no matter where they’re from or where in the city they live, are counted,” said Julie Menin, Director of NYC Census 2020 and Executive Assistant Corporation Counsel, New York City Law Department.
“Yesterday’s news confirmed what we have long suspected, the citizenship question is intended to harm diverse cities like New York and prevent immigrant communities from getting the fair share of the federal funding and political power they deserve,” said Melva Miller, Executive Vice President of the ABNY’s census effort. “Whatever the Court decides, New York will not be intimidated. The business community, our not-for-profits and government are moving forward together to ensure that every New Yorker is counted and receives the benefits they, their children, and their neighbors deserve.”
“The figures coming out of this situation will put gerrymandering on steroids. If allowed to stand, this question will promote deportation of the non-citizens, demote the political voices of citizens who remain and distort the distribution of federal funds for health, education, and election results at various levels of our constitutional system,” said Alvin Ponder, MD, Vice President of the New York City Chapter of the National Action Network.
“The documents reported on yesterday further validate the New York State lawsuit’s claims that the Census citizenship question was added to depress responses and erase and divide the poor, communities of color, and immigrants,” said Amy Torres, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC). “We saw through this trick long ago, but these documents now prove that the Trump Administration knew that preying on our worst fears and anxieties would disempower and divide us. We stand with Congresswoman Maloney to call for additional federal resources to undo the damage already done and fight for a full, fair count.”
“Any and all schemes to suppress Census participation in New York City’s immigrant communities must be defeated at every turn,” said Thomas Yu, co-executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. “AAFE is fully committed to working with our partners in government and in the nonprofit community to ensure a complete count in 2020. We thank Rep. Maloney for her leadership on this important issue and for advocating for robust Census outreach funding.”
“The revelations about the origin and intent of the citizenship question are abhorrent, but unsurprising given the hyper politicization of our nation’s current policy goals and objectives. The fact that there is evidence proving that the citizenship question was rooted in a deliberate attempt to advantage a political party, dilute the power of the vote and ultimately undermine the power of our democracy should invalidate any arguments put forth by the current administration. Let’s hope that the Supreme Court will place protecting the right to vote, and have that vote counted above partisan politics. We demand that the Court strike a question intentionally designed to disenfranchise voters and divide the country,” said Lurie Daniel Favors, General Counsel and the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College.
“Yesterday’s news and court filings confirm what we have suspected all along – that the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Census was part of an organized partisan effort to disenfranchise Latinos and to dilute Latino political power,” said Jorge Luis Vasquez Jr., Associate Counsel at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.
“These newly discovered documents make it clear. By adding the citizenship question, the federal government intends to prevent immigrant participation in the 2020 Census to aid Republican gerrymandering. Congress, state, and local governments must now affirmatively respond with swift passage of the IDEA Act and increased funding for trusted community based groups serving these vulnerable groups to help ensure they are counted,” stated Elizabeth R. OuYang, Civil Rights Attorney, Educator, and Community Advocate.
Data from the decennial census helps to determine the distribution of federal funds, including $73 million to New York State. This funding supports programs like Medicare and Medicaid, school lunch vouchers, the children’s health insurance program and heating assistance in the winter. States and cities like New York also use Census data for nearly every planning decision they make, like projecting student populations and designing transportation routes.
Businesses of every size and in every sector similarly rely on census data for strategic planning – whether to open a new store and where, whether to launch a new product, or how to advertise their business.
Census numbers also determine how many electoral votes and seats in the House of Representatives each state is allotted.