Civil Rights Advocates Welcome Supreme Court Decision on Census Citizenship Question

Census News 06.27.19

Contact: LaGloria Wheatfall, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, [email protected], 202.548.7160
Inga Sarda-Sorensen, ACLU, [email protected], 212.284.7347
Amanda Bosquez, NALEO Educational Fund, [email protected], 361.548.6989
Mary Tablante, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, [email protected], 202.296.2300 x 0114
National Congress of American Indians, [email protected], 202.630.1094
Jeri Green, National Urban League, [email protected], 202.580.5016
Jasmine Nazarett, Community Change and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), [email protected], 954.471.9080

WASHINGTON – Leading civil rights organizations held a telephone press briefing today to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling in Department of Commerce v. New York, the litigation on the citizenship question in the 2020 Census.

Audio of this call is available here.

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, said: “Today, we prevailed over nefarious actors trying to rig our democracy. But our work doesn’t stop here. Our national census must remain above politics, above ploys for power, and above manipulation for partisan and racial gain. An accurate count is foundational to a fair and free democracy. Now, we renew our work to reassure all communities that census participation is safe and necessary. The census won’t protect itself. We must protect it.”

Sarah Brannon, managing attorney, ACLU Voting Rights Project, said: “This is an important victory. Our lawsuit was never about a line on a form. It was about whether everyone in America counts, and this ruling means they do.”

“Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court has for the moment walked our nation back from the brink of a catastrophic disaster that would have inflicted a wound on our constitution and democracy that may never have healed. We now call on the New York District Court to remove the citizenship question once and for all so that the U.S. Census Bureau can proceed with the clarity and certainty it needs to execute a Census 2020 that is fair, constitutional and accurate,” stated Arturo Vargas, NALEO Educational Fund CEO. “Through our nationwide ¡Hágase Contar! (Make Yourself Count!) Campaign, we will do our part to save the decennial count by engaging Latinos from coast to coast about the importance of participating in Census 2020. Our toll-free bilingual hotline—877-EL-CENSO (877-352-3767)—will be in full operation to ensure that members of our community have the information they need to count themselves and their family members.”

“The Supreme Court clearly rejected the Commerce Department’s explanation for why a citizenship question should be included. The clock is running, and 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. Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing demographic in this country and we need this 2020 Census to count all of us. Let’s make sure the census reflects the true diversity of this country and ensure that we have fair and accurate data for political representation, and for the allocation of $800 billion in federal funding annually for schools, roads, hospitals, and so many other critical services,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC

“A great percentage of American Indians and Alaska Natives are in the Hard to Count category. We must be focused on the efforts in reaching Indian Country. We urge everyone to listen to the drum and answer the census,” said Aaron Payment, 1st Vice President, National Congress of American Indians.

Jeri Green, senior advisor for the census, National Urban League, said: “Today is a great day for Democracy. The National Urban League applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling against adding a disruptive, untested citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Supreme Court’s decision sends a much-needed message to the nation that it will uphold and protect the U.S. Constitution which calls for an enumeration of every person residing in the United States.”

“We won the battle today, but our fight to ensure our communities are counted continues. Our movement of grassroots groups is hard at work talking to our community members about the importance of being counted in the 2020 census. With so much on the line, we all must be active participants in our democracy and make our voices heard. We have so much political power and that’s why this administration wants to silence us. It won’t work. We’re ready and we’re going to be counted,” said Alma Couverthie, Deputy Field Director for Immigration, Community Change and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM).

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

More information about The Education Fund’s Census Counts campaign is available at

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has worked in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect the constitutional rights of all people. With a nationwide network of offices and millions of members and supporters, we take up the toughest civil liberties fights. Beyond one person, party, or side — we the people dare to create a more perfect union. Learn more at

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.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation’s members are: Advancing Justice – AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, Advancing Justice – Atlanta, and Advancing Justice – Chicago.

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

The Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) is the nation’s largest immigrant-rights coalition, with grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal level. For more information, go to or follow us on Twitter @Re4mImmigration.