Assemblymember Taylor: Court Victory over Census Citizenship Question

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Rules against Trump Administration's Census Citizenship Question

On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the Trump administration to halt its plan to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census. The question asks, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" and such a question has not appeared in the census since 1950.

The Justice Department had asked the question be included on the census in March 2018 because it claimed it needed a better count of voting-age citizens from the census in order to enforce protections against voting discrimination under the Voting Rights Act. However, the question is pointedly aimed as a weapon against immigrants, communities of color and sanctuary cities and states. The question is designed to intimidate immigrants into not responding to the census, which would result in their communities being undercounted, underrepresented, and underfunded. 

The Trump administration has repeated used illegal and underhanded tactics to mislead, disenfranchise, and intimidate minorities. As we expect the administration to appeal the Court's decision, we know the fight over the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 census will continue. Still, we believe that the District Court’s ruling is representative of a larger victory – that our democratic institutions will not be turned against us to instill fear or divide us.