This month, the Supreme Court of the United States will rule on whether the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census is constitutional. Senate Democrats strongly oppose the Trump administration’s citizenship question and believe that everyone must be counted in this critical and constitutionally-mandated decennial count that determines federal investment in every state and community across the country.

The U.S. Census released a report that concluded that inclusion of a citizenship question would lead to a lower self-response rate.  Experts and local city and state officials agree that adding a citizenship question makes people less likely to return their census forms and depresses Latino participation, which would lead to a massive undercount and pose grave consequences for generations to come. Three federal courts have halted the addition of the question. And new evidence supports the argument there was a political, partisan motivation to adding the citizenship question.

We are urging offices to voice their opposition to this clear attack on the integrity and accuracy of the #2020Census, which will disproportionately affect communities of color.

1)      Sample Tweets:

  • The Census is a fair count providing us with an accurate representation of our communities. Yet, the Trump admin has & continues to undermine it for political reasons.

We will not stand by & allow the admin to undermine the Census. Everyone must be counted.

  • The Census, a constitutionally-mandated count of everyone in the U.S., is under threat from the Trump administration. Millions are at risk of being undercounted.

We reject the admin’s attempts to trample the #2020Census. And will work to count everyone.

  • The Trump admin decision to add a citizenship question to the Census would harm the Latino community. Inciting fear in the most vulnerable communities to depress participation is wrong.

Everyone must be counted.

  • The Trump administration’s attack on the 2020 Census could undercount more than 4 million people of color. An undercount would disproportionately hurt these communities.

We cannot allow this to happen.

2)      Important Articles:

NPR – 2020 Census Could Lead To Worst Undercount Of Black, Latinx People In 30 Years

Challenges threatening the upcoming 2020 census could put more than 4 million people at risk of being undercounted in next year’s national head count, according to new projections by the Urban Institute. The nonpartisan think tank found that the danger of an inaccurate census could hit some of the country’s most difficult to count populations the hardest. Based on the institute’s analysis, the 2020 census could lead to the worst undercount of black and Latino and Latina people in the U.S. since 1990. The institute also projects as many as 2.2 million (3.57%) Latinos and Latinas around the U.S. could be undercounted in the 2020 census. Children under the age of 5 — another hard-to-count group — also face an undercount as high as 6.31%, or about 1.3 million young children. All of these projections are based upon what the Urban Institute considers a “high-risk” scenario. Still, John Thompson, a former Census Bureau director who reviewed the report, says that these estimates “may be a little bit on the conservative side.” LINK

The New York Times – Deceased G.O.P. Strategist’s Hard Drives Reveal New Details on the Census Citizenship Question

Thomas B. Hofeller achieved near-mythic status in the Republican Party as the Michelangelo of gerrymandering, the architect of partisan political maps that cemented the party’s dominance across the country. But after he died last summer, his estranged daughter discovered hard drives in her father’s home that revealed something else: Mr. Hofeller had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Files on those drives showed that he wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding a citizenship question to the census would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. And months after urging President Trump’s transition team to tack the question onto the census, he wrote the key portion of a draft Justice Department letter claiming the question was needed to enforce the 1965 Voting Rights Act — the rationale the administration later used to justify its decision. LINK

Washington Post – Where a citizenship question could cause the census to miss millions of Hispanics — and why that’s a big deal

The Supreme Court is expected to decide in coming weeks whether next year’s decennial census will include a new and controversial question on citizenship added by the Trump administration. The question is already being asked each year of a small fraction of the nation’s population in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. In the latest ACS, in 2017, the citizenship question went unanswered by about 1 in 12 Hispanics, a far higher rate than that of whites. Where these non-responses occurred can tell us where millions of Hispanics would probably be missed if the same question were added to the 2020 Census. LINK

3)      Round Up:

Leader Schumer: “This is a smoking gun showing that @realDonaldTrump’s admin added the citizen question to the U.S. Census in a politically motivated attempt to help Republicans. Their partisan agenda is so far out of the American mainstream that they need to scare people out of being counted.” LINK

Senator Bennet (D – CO): “Glad to see this legislation was signed into law thanks to the efforts of state legislators, advocacy groups, and community members. An accurate census count is crucial to ensuring Colorado has the representation and resources it deserves.” LINK

Senator Blumenthal (D – CT): “Instead of a smoking gun we are left with a smoking hard drive. Explicit evidence GOP operatives pushed gov’t officials to hastily add a citizenship question on the 2020 census to purposefully suppress minority votes. Despicable, undemocratic, & unconstitutional.” LINK

Senator Carper (D – PA): “.@CommerceGov tried to say that the late addition of a citizenship question to the #2020Census wasn’t for political purposes. But the truth has a way of getting out. Now we know that the Trump Administration’s push was to benefit Republicans electorally.” LINK

Senator Carper (D – PA): “By the Trump Administration’s own estimate, a citizenship question would cause at least 6.5 million people to not respond to this crucial count. That’s 6.5 million people left out of the decisions that businesses and the government have to make every day” LINK

Senator Feinstein (D – CA): “NEW: Court filings show that the rationale for adding a census citizenship question was to benefit Republicans by disenfranchising minority voters. I’ve opposed the addition of a citizenship question from the start and I’ll keep working to ensure an accurate census in 2020.” LINK

Senator Heinrich (D – NM): “We all have a stake in ensuring an accurate count in the 2020 Census. I’m glad Director Dillingham visited our state to get a firsthand account of the unique challenges the Census Bureau faces here in New Mexico.” LINK

Senator Heinrich (D – NM): “I appreciate our community stakeholders who provided their expertise to ensure NM’s cultural & geographic diversity are taken into account. Underrepresented communities, including rural & tribal, colonias, all non-English & limited-English speakers & children need to be counted.” LINK

Senator Harris (D – CA): “The Trump administration wants to politicize the Census by adding a citizenship question. And what’s more—now we know political operatives intended it to distort the count in favor of Republicans. This is undemocratic. My colleagues & I are calling for investigations into this.” LINK

Senator Markey (D – MA): “From gerrymandering to voter suppression to the citizenship question, it’s clear: the Republican Party fears and is trying to undermine representative democracy. We cannot allow the Census to become a vehicle for their racially-motivated tactics to erase black and Latinx people.” LINK

Senator Cortez Masto (D – NV): “We’ve known all along that this Admin’s citizenship question on the 2020 Census is a naked attempt to undercount communities of color. Its inclusion could lead to an inaccurate count of Nevada’s communities, silencing the voices of Nevadans and impacting critical federal funding.” LINK

Senator Murray (D – WA): “New information suggests that the Trump Admin is attempting to use the 2020 census as a political weapon to advance partisan gerrymandering. This is absolutely unacceptable. I’m joining @brianschatz to demand DOJ and the Dept. of Commerce investigate.” LINK

Senator Sanders (D – VT): ”More proof that this administration wants to rig the 2020 Census to undercount minorities—and they’re trying to cover it up. The census must not be turned into a partisan weapon. Immigrant communities have a right to equal representation and funding.” LINK

Senator Udall (D – NM): “Not only is a “citizenship question” on the census likely to lead to an undercount in immigrant communities—new evidence shows that it was a purely partisan ploy to gerrymander state maps in Republicans’ favor. Shameful. The question cannot stand.” LINK

Senator Udall (D – NM): “I’m glad the Census Director could join me in Los Lunas, New Mexico to discuss challenges ahead in the #2020Census. Diversity is our greatest strength—and we need to make sure every New Mexican is counted. The stakes are high.” LINK

Senator Udall (D – NM): “Census numbers determine how federal $ is distributed. When communities are undercounted, they receive fewer resources. We must make sure all underrepresented communities are counted: rural and tribal areas, colonias, immigrants, non-English & limited-English speakers, children.” LINK

Senator Udall (D – NM): “Even a one percent undercount could mean hundreds of millions of dollars lost for New Mexico communities. The Census counts big for New Mexico. We need to ensure a fair count for our state.” LINK

Senator Wyden (D – OR): “Should the Supreme Court rule to uphold the dangerous citizenship census question after these revelations, it will clearly establish that this court has become a political body for the advancement of a right wing agenda.” LINK


Sol Ortega
Deputy Director of Engagement
United States Senate Democratic Leader