UnidosUS: SCOTUS Decision to Expedite Hearing on Citizenship Census Question Important Step; Court Should Move to Barr Question that Would Negatively Impact Millions of Latinos

WASHINGTON, DC—This afternoon, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to expedite a hearing on whether to allow a citizenship question in the upcoming U.S. Census, bypassing the lower courts. For the first time in almost 70 years, the Trump administration had announced it would insert a question in the U.S. Census which asked the citizenship status of each person in the household. A federal judge in New York had initially barred the question but the Trump administration filed an appeal and had been awaiting a decision.

The move to include the question on citizenship has been decried by many advocate groups, including UnidosUS, as being politically motivated. Research shows that Hispanics have been undercounted for decades, with challenges such as language and poverty barriers making the community a “hard-to-count” population. Estimates in fact, show that roughly one in three Latinos currently live in hard-to-count census tracts; in 2010, the undercount for Latino children was twice that of White children.

“Adding a citizenship question to the Census is not only unnecessary, untested and costly, there is clear evidence it creates fears around confidentiality and data access. This would significantly lower the Latino response rate leading to a drastic undercount,” said Dr. Patricia Foxen, Deputy Director of Research, UnidosUS.

UnidosUS had written a declaration for one of the several legal suits challenging the Census Bureau, signed onto several amicus briefs, submitted a public comment to Secretary Ross detailing the perils of a citizenship question, and encouraged its network of nearly 300 Affiliate groups around the country to join in the efforts.

“An inaccurate Census count has large implications for Latinos, particularly in the areas of political representation, voting rights and the vital programs and services that strengthen our communities. We are encouraged the court will take this manner up in an expeditious manner and hope that they will rule against the inclusion of the citizenship question,” concluded Dr. Foxen.