Statements from the Field Regarding the SCOTUS Citizenship Questoin Decision
FCCP Statement
We applaud the US Supreme Court’s decision to halt the inclusion of the untested citizenship question, for now, from the 2020 Census. This is a critical step toward a fair and accurate count. However, the threat of the question has already created significant fear and mistrust, particularly for historically undercounted populations such as communities of color, immigrants, low-income households, and young children.

Philanthropic engagement to promote and protect this essential component of our democracy has been unprecedented. FCCP was one of 30 philanthropic institutions to join an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in support of the respondents on this case. For philanthropy, accurate census data are vital. They help us better understand the issues we care about (from education and public health to environmental justice and civic engagement) and the communities we serve, establish priorities, inform stronger evaluation, and monitor progress. Without our shared effort to prevent a significant undercount, we risk the misallocation of more than $800 billion in annual federal funding, the further marginalization of the communities and individuals we support, and the distortion of political power for a decade.

We remain committed to the 2020 Census. There is still more work to do that requires deepened engagement from philanthropy. The Funders Census Initiative, along with our national, state, and community-based partners will continue to help educate and mobilize all households to ensure every person is counted.”

Partner Statements: 
  • The Leadership Conference: “We applaud today’s decision to block the untested citizenship question from the 2020 Census. The decision affirms that the Supreme Court saw through the Trump administration’s deceitful attempts to weaponize the census for partisan purposes and threaten the accuracy of the decennial count. These efforts were, as the Court said, ‘contrived.’ Now the Commerce Department must move forward to ensure a fair and accurate count and stop their efforts to add this unnecessary question. But our work doesn’t stop here. The specter of the question has heightened fear and mistrust in communities and discouraged some from participating in the census. All hands are on deck to ensure everyone is counted.”
  • NALEO Educational Fun: “We know the fight for a fair and accurate Census 2020 is far from over. We hope for swift and absolute resolution from the New York District Court so that we can devote our time and resources toward healing our nation and working towards a full count of all persons in Census 2020.”
  • Advancing Justice | AACJ: "We believe that the clock is running out and that the Commerce Department should abandon its efforts to include a citizenship question for Census 2020. But if it doesn’t, we will continue to fight to ensure that our communities are counted fully, and that includes robust litigation efforts." 
  • ACLU: “This case has never been about a line on a form. It is about whether everyone in America counts. This ruling means they do.”
  • FIRM: “Today’s ruling means we have won a key battle but our fight to ensure our communities are counted continues. We’ve stalled the administration’s racially motivated attacks on our families, and are ready for their next move. While the case is litigated in the lower courts, we are doing what we do best: organizing and preparing our communities to be counted in the 2020 census.” 
  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund: "Today, civil rights groups secured a critical victory against the Trump administration’s attempt to manipulate the Census to the detriment of people of color and to the accurate enumerations of the American public. In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the U.S. Department of Commerce’s rationale for adding a discriminatory citizenship status question to the 2020 census and sent the case back to a lower court."
  • United Philanthropy Forum: The court’s opinion rightly pointed out “the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given” and calls the agency’s stated explanation “a distraction.” The Forum supports the court’s finding that the agency’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census rings hallow and, in the court’s words, “is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision-making process.”

By Patricia Swann, Sr. Program Officer at The New York Community Trust, on behalf of the New York State Census Equity Fund Steering Committee  

Philanthropy Must Keep Pushing to Get a Correct Census Count , The Chronicle of Philanthropy, By Tony Mestres, Mariam Noland, and Lorie Slutsky, Community Foundation Leaders
Key Messages from the Census Counts Decision Day Toolkit

  • Democracy Won. The Supreme Court ruled that the citizenship question cannot, for now, be added to the 2020 Census. 
  • Given the unrelenting timetable, it seems unlikely that the citizenship question could be added. 
  • The Commerce Department and the Census Bureau should respect the Supreme Court’s decision and immediately proceed with preparations for a 2020 Census that does not include the citizenship question. 
  • This is an all hands on deck moment. We must all stand up for the representation and resources our communities deserve by participating in the 2020 Census. 

Find out Why Your Foundation Should Become a 2020 Census Official Partner by clicking here .
News from the Bureau
The New York Regional Census Center, June Newsletter is now available for your review. Each month, the staff working to support a complete count will provide updates and ideas from the regional office. On page 7 there is a great overview of the Syracuse Ideation sessions that took place, and on page 8 there are two stories discussing how Rochester is garnering support for Census in their region.
This email was generated by Engage New York in support of the NYS Census Equity Fund; a pooled fund focused on supporting and mobilizing get out the count efforts to ensure every New Yorker is counted in Census 2020.