“So, is the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Census Citizenship Question good or bad for us?” a student asked me. I answered, “The decision has mixed outcomes. The final outcome is not clear.”
The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from being added to the 2020 Census… for now.
Obviously, blocking the census citizenship question is a positive outcome for immigrant and Latinx communities. The Supreme Court rejected the Trump Administration’s explanation that the main purpose for adding the citizenship question is for enforcement of federal voting rights laws. They saw the hypocrisy and acknowledged that the true political motivations were aimed at undermining participation of non-citizens and immigrant communities thereby ensuring an undercount.
However, because the Supreme Court did not render a decisive and final decision, the court leaves open the possibility that the Trump administration could try to add the citizenship question again. Prevailing commentary points out that due to the tight timeline, the Trump Administration will most likely not have enough time to undergo the review process once again, but that is beside the point.
The departure here is that the court is giving the Trump Administration another chance to provide “Reasoned decision-making.” Trump has already asked lawyers to see if there is any way to delay the census. Whether possible or not, this controversy could have been ended.
The message for our friends, civil rights leaders and immigrant rights defenders, this mixed-outcome is a reminder that we must continue reaching out and educating our communities. We are committed to ensuring a fair and accurate count because our economic and political future depends on it!
For more details I recommend reading the statements from the Count Me 2020 Coalition and MALDEF.
Please save the date for the next Census 2020 Regional Planning Meeting in North County which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 from 2-4pm at Centro Universidad Popular.
Arcela Nunez-Alvarez, Ph.D.
The National Latino Research Center is a member of the Count Me 2020 Coalition