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Civil Rights and Census Advocates Highlight Need to Keep the Citizenship Question Off the 2020 Census

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The Leadership Conference Education Fund, with Ethnic Media Services, hosted a telephone press briefing on Wednesday, January 30, featuring the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and the National Urban League to discuss the importance of the 2020 Census to communities of color and efforts to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.   

Civil rights leaders and census experts from diverse communities discussed what the decision out of New York means for pending litigation and why it’s important for Congress to ensure the count is fair and accurate. 

“Getting the 2020 Census right is important for all people, particularly the hardest to count communities,” said Beth Lynk, census counts campaign director at The Leadership Conference Education Fund. 

“If there is an undercount, vital public services, schools, hospitals, and highways are not properly funded, and already vulnerable communities will suffer.  We call on Congress to remove the citizenship question to ensure a fair and accurate count so that no one is left behind.”

“The 2020 Census is our only chance in a decade for a fair and accurate count of our communities. Census data are used in countless ways to ensure that our families and communities have the resources and services that they need.

One in four Asians in the United States are new Americans and have never participated in the Census, and a citizenship question endangers an accurate count.

We must protect the voices of all our immigrant communities because this is an America where everyone counts,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.

“Given the importance of Census 2020 in distributing billions of dollars in federal funding and the allocation of political power to communities across the country for the next 10 years, we cannot afford to have millions of Latinos and other Americans missed in the nation’s decennial count,” stated Angela Manso, director of policy and legislative affairs at the NALEO Educational Fund. 

“While the New York ruling marked an important legal victory, we know the citizenship question issue is far from settled in the courts. That is why we are calling on Congress to act and provide the U.S. Census Bureau with the clarity it needs to execute the 2020 Census by removing the citizenship question once and for all.”

“A citizenship question increases the likelihood of a substantial undercount of the entire U.S. Black population, including immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and the African Diaspora,” said Jeri Green, 2020 Census senior advisor at the National Urban League. 

“We urge Congress to remove the question so the Administration can focus on critical 2020 Census operations instead of the continued pursuit of this misguided, discriminatory policy.”

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