Tuesday, April 23, 2019

U.S. Supreme Court Begins Oral Arguments on Proposed Citizenship Question for 2020 Census

Billions of dollars for public programs and infrastructure are at stake for New Mexico if the citizenship question is added to the 2020 Census form

Albuquerque, N.M.Today, the U.S. Supreme Court began oral arguments on the proposed addition of the “citizenship question” to the 2020 census form. The citizenship question hasn’t been used in decennial counts in almost 70 years.

“The addition of the highly controversial question could have grave consequences in New Mexico’s decennial count, causing a population undercount due to the chilling factor this question has in communities of color and immigrants who fear their information could be used against them,” said Jame Povijua, policy director for the Center for Civic Policy.

The Center for Civic Policy signed onto an amicus brief, along with 177 other community groups from across the country, urging the Supreme Court to strike the citizenship question. 

The census is a fundamental pillar of our democracy and informs our nation’s most important decisions, including how federal resources are divvied up, where roads, hospitals and schools are built, and fair Congressional representation,” said Oriana Sandoval, CEO for the Center for Civic Policy.

Currently New Mexico is considered the hardest-to-count state with the highest risk of an undercount. The addition of the  citizenship question will only aggravate the possibility for a fair and accurate decennial count in 2020.

“The 2020 Census represents over $7 billion in federal funding at stake for New Mexico used to maintain essential programs for our families’ wellbeing like: Medicaid, SNAP, and CHIP. The census is also the key to funding vital infrastructure our state needs to thrive like our roads, schools, and hospitals,” Pojivua said. “These are programs and funds our New Mexican families cannot afford to lose.”

According to federal administration’s own analysis, adding a citizenship question would stop “approximately 6.5 million people” from participating. As a result, states could unfairly lose a seat in the House of Representatives; and numerous other states like New Mexico will lose the funding they deserve for federal programs.

“Three federal judges in New York, California and Maryland agree that adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census was unlawful. We are hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will come to the same conclusion to ensure every New Mexican family receives their fair share of funding and representation they deserve to thrive,” Sandoval said.

The Supreme Court is expected to release a final ruling on the citizenship question in June.

*** For a complete picture of how census funding has been used in New Mexico click here ***