131 Groups Fight to Remove 2020 Census Citizenship Question

Census News 07.25.18

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Muslim Advocates, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and 125 other grassroots, advocacy, labor, legal services, and other organizations on Tuesday submitted “friend of the court” briefs opposing motions to dismiss two lawsuits challenging the inclusion of an unnecessary and intrusive citizenship question in the 2020 Census. The cases are California v. Ross, brought by the state of California and several California cities and counties, and City of San Jose and Black Alliance for Just Immigration v. Ross.

The groups write in part:

“Given its foundational importance to American government and society, the census must be above partisan politics. The misguided decision to reverse seventy years of consistent census practice and insert an untested citizenship question undermines the integrity of the count, damages our communities, and violates the Census Bureau’s constitutional and statutory duties to conduct a full enumeration of the U.S. population.”

The briefs note that the Census Bureau itself has long opposed adding a citizenship question precisely because it would lead to an undercount, which would “impact hard-to-count populations disproportionately.” The briefs also urge the rejection of the claim that the citizenship question was necessary to enforce the Voting Rights Act. According to the briefs, the “sudden interest in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act is not credible” and, based on a recently released memorandum from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, was likely “pretextual.” Moreover, collecting citizenship data would in fact undermine enforcement of the Voting Rights Act because it would “undercount the minority populations who rely on that data to bring VRA claims.”

The California amicus brief is available here, the San Jose amicus brief is available here, and a full list of the participating organizations follows below:

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Leadership Conference Education Fund

Muslim Advocates

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

4CS of Passaic County

Advocates for Children of New Jersey


American Anthropology Association

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME)

American Federation of Teachers

American Muslim Health Professionals

American Society on Aging

Andrew Goodman Foundation

Anti-Defamation League

Arab American Institute

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Asian Americans for Community Involvement

Asian Law Alliance

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance

Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment (APACE) – Washington

Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice

Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP)

California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy

Central Conference of American Rabbis

Chinese-American Planning Council

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church – Washington-Virginia District

Citizen Action of New York

Civil Rights Project at the University of California – Los Angeles

Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues

Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE)

Coalition on Human Needs

Colorado Center on Law and Policy

Colorado Children’s Campaign

Common Cause

Community Service Society of New York

Crescent City Media Group

D & R Accounting & Tax Solutions, Inc.

Delaware Ecumenical Council on Children and Families

Democracy Forward Foundation


Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)

Empower Missouri

Equal Justice Society

Equality California

Faith in Public Life

Family Equality Council

FISH Hospitality Program, Inc.

Gilmore Memorial Preschool, Inc.

Hindu American Foundation

Hispanic Federation

Hispanic Organization for Leadership & Action (HOLA)

Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, USA-JPIC

Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Immigrant Justice Group First Unitarian Denver

Impact Fund

In the Public Interest

Japanese American Citizens League

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Justice in Aging

Laotian American National Alliance

Latino Coalition for a Healthy California

LatinoJustice PRLDEF (Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund)

League of Women Voters US

Legal Aid Justice Center

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Let America Vote

MinKwon Center for Community Action

Muslim Public Affairs Council

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

National Action Network

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc.

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Law and Economic Justice

National Coalition for Literacy

National Consumers League

National Council of Jewish Women

National Employment Law Project

National Health Law Program

National Human Services Assembly

National Immigration Law Center

National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH)

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Organization for Women Foundation

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Women’s Law Center

N.C. Counts Coalition

New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

New York Counts 2020

New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus

North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT)

Oasis – A Haven for Women and Children

Partnership For America’s Children

Paterson Alliance

Paterson Education Fund

Paterson Habitat for Humanity

Passaic County Community College Child Development Center

People For the American Way Foundation


Protect Democracy

Public Justice Center

Research Advisory Services, Inc.

Rock the Vote

Service Employees International Union

SOME, Inc. (So Others Might Eat)

South Asian Americans Leading Together

Southeast Michigan Census Council

Southern Poverty Law Center

Texas Civil Rights Project

The Enrichment Center

The National Urban League

The Sikh Coalition

The Southern Coalition for Social Justice

The Women’s Law Center of Maryland

Theta Delta Sigma Society, Inc.

Tikkun Olam Chavurah


Union for Reform Judaism

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hidalgo County

Virginia Civic Engagement Table

Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice

Women Employed

Women of Reform Judaism

Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia



The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit http://leadershipconferenceedfund.org/.

Muslim Advocates is a national legal advocacy and educational organization that works on the frontlines of civil rights to guarantee freedom and justice for Americans of all faiths.

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to reform, revitalize – and when necessary, defend – our country’s systems of democracy and justice. At this critical moment, the Brennan Center is dedicated to protecting the rule of law and the values of Constitutional democracy. We focus on voting rights, campaign finance reform, ending mass incarceration, and preserving our liberties while also maintaining our national security. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting-edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

NALEO Educational Fund is the leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) is one of the most active civil rights and social justice organizations in the nation “dedicated to increasing civic engagement, economic and voter empowerment in Black America.”  The Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR) is the women and girls empowerment arm of the NCBCP. At the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women, BWR promotes their health and wellness, economic security & prosperity, education and global empowerment as key elements for success