Citizenship question fight continues as Trump administration tries to fast-track decision to Supreme Court, Congressional Democrats introduce legislation to block question from 2020 Census

Written by: Sarah Hughes
Date Posted: February 1, 2019

Following a federal judge’s decision to block an untested, unnecessary question about citizenship status from appearing on the 2020 Census questionnaire, the Trump administration last week filed a formal request to expedite the decision to the Supreme Court. This request to bypass the typical appeals process and fast-track the decision to the nation’s highest court comes after the administration sought at least a dozen delays in the case to decide whether the addition of the question violated federal law.

In January, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman found that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross violated a “smorgasbord” of rules when he decided to add the question to the 2020 Census, against the advice of experts and the Census Bureau’s own research. Experts caution that asking every resident of the United States about their citizenship status on the 2020 Census will depress response rates, putting federal funding in jeopardy for communities across the country and skewing important data for the next 10 years.

Whether the courts will grant the Trump administration’s request to expedite the decision remains to be seen. In the meantime, other efforts to prohibit the question from appearing on the 2020 Census are underway in Congress. Last week, Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York introduced the Census IDEA Act, which would block the citizenship question from the 2020 questionnaire and require a three-year review process for questions proposed to the decennial census. A similar bill is expected to be introduced soon in the U.S. Senate. Stay tuned for more information on how you can make your voice heard in support of these bills and help ensure a fair and accurate census count for your community.

Sarah Hughes

About Sarah Hughes

Sarah Hughes is Vice President of Research Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign. In this role, she leads the organization’s research and data analysis efforts, including the development and publication of the annual KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report, and provides research and data support to inform and advance the Children’s Campaign’s policy agenda. She also co-chairs the organization’s internal Equity Team. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign, Sarah worked in communications and spent several years working and volunteering with kids in various capacities. She holds a Master of Social Work with a specialization in Advocacy, Leadership and Social Change from the University of Illinois and a B.S. in Business and Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. She lives in Denver with her husband and their two crazy dogs.