Why We Reject Addition of Citizenship Question to U.S. Census–Letitia James

Letitia James. Photo: Commons Wikipedia 
New York Attorney General Letitia James released a strong statement today reiterating the importance of an accurate census count and its impact on all communities –particularly marginalized ones– following oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in connection with the multi-state lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire. 
“This case should be decided on the merits of the arguments and according to the letter of the law. I strongly believe that the facts and the record support our claims and am hopeful that the Honorable Justices will agree. At the same time, we cannot fail to recognize that—at the heart of this matter—there is more at issue here than just surveys and statistics. It is about how our government is organized, how power is equally divided, and how aid is distributed equitably.”
“Fundamentally, the decennial census is a measure we use to deliver on fairness, one of our nation’s core tenets. Fairness requires that assistance reaches those who need it the most. It requires that communities have equal representation in government and that no group, or neighborhood, or individual is marginalized. Adding a question about citizenship to the census would lead to undercounting communities across America—particularly in immigrant and Hispanic communities. It would mean that communities entitled to resources wouldn’t get those resources. It would deny certain communities equal representation. So in the interest of fairness—in the interest of upholding this quintessential American promise—we are obligated to ensure the most accurate count possible in the 2020 census. After all, everyone counts, and therefore, everyone must be counted. For this reason, we could not allow the addition of the citizenship question to the decennial census go unchallenged. I am proud of the work of our team that worked so hard on this issue and am thankful to our many partners who fought alongside us.” 

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