5-4 decision has halted the citizenship question from moving forward, sending the case back down to the lower court for further consideration
NALEO Educational Fund’s toll-free bilingual census hotline—877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3676)—will be in full operation to answer questions from the Latino community
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund today released a statement from CEO Arturo Vargas following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt the citizenship question from moving forward in Census 2020:
“Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court has for the moment walked our nation back from the brink of a catastrophic disaster that would have inflicted a wound on our constitution and democracy that may never have healed.
“Choosing to send the case back to the district court in New York in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the U.S. Commerce Department’s rationale for adding the question was ‘contrived’ and raised questions about its motivations. The New York District Court previously ruled that the Administration acted in error, with two other similar lower court rulings finding that the addition of the citizenship question also violated the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Commerce Department must now provide an alternative and reasonable justification to the lower court in order to move forward with a question on citizenship in Census 2020.
“While this victory is far from the settled, the nation’s highest court did send a clear message today that future cabinet members and administrations are not free to make arbitrary and politically motivated decisions at will, denying those with ill-intentions the power and discretion to fabricate excuses and ignore facts and laws free from consequences.
“We now call on the New York District Court to remove the citizenship question once and for all so that the U.S. Census Bureau can proceed with the clarity and certainty it needs to execute a Census 2020 that is fair, constitutional and accurate.”
“Even if the citizenship question is halted for good, we know this effort to undermine the progress of the Latino community and suppress the count of Latinos has left its mark on Census 2020. Our work mobilizing the nation’s second largest population group remains more important than ever as we attempt to rebuild the trust that has been eroded over the course of this fight. Standing alongside our nation’s Latino leadership and partners, we will work together to educate our community about this important development and make sure that every Latino is counted in the 2020 Census.
“The Census Bureau understands as well as we do, that an undercount of Latinos, who account for nearly one of every five persons in the United States, would mean a failed Census for the country. We have our work cut out for us, but the lack of a citizenship question will at least give us a fighting chance to attempt to tackle the monumental task of counting every person living in the United States. We know it will still require millions in taxpayer dollars to overcome the lingering and chilling effects of the citizenship question effort on Census participation if we want a successful Census 2020.
“Through our nationwide ¡Hágase Contar! (Make Yourself Count!) Campaign, we will do our part to save the decennial count by engaging Latinos from coast to coast about the importance of participating in Census 2020. Our toll-free bilingual hotline—877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3767)—will be in full operation to ensure that members of our community have the information they need to count themselves and their family members.
“The stakes are too high for the Latino community and our democracy to rest on our laurels. Our dedication to a full portrait of this nation is unwavering, and we remain staunchly committed to ensuring a fair and accurate Census count of all persons in the United States, including Latinos and immigrants, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
“We know the fight for a fair and accurate Census 2020 is far from over. We hope for swift and absolute resolution from the New York District Court so that we can devote our time and resources toward healing our nation and working towards a full count of all persons in Census 2020.”
About NALEO Educational Fund
NALEO Educational Fund is the nation’s leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates the full participation of Latinos in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.
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