LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Los Angeles County officials celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court decision Thursday morning that blocked the Trump Administration’s attempt to add a question asking people their citizenship status to the 2020 Census, saying the justification for such a question was inadequate.
Instead, the Supreme Court is giving the Trump administration another chance to come up with an explanation for why the citizenship question is needed, saying that there was not enough evidence to support U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ rationale that a citizenship question would allow the government to enforce the Voting Rights Act, according to the New York Times.
It’s unclear whether the administration will be able to provide the explanation before Census forms are printed, which the government is expected to do this summer.
“Let’s make it clear — we want everybody to participate in the 2020 Census,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis at a downtown Los Angeles press conference, where a variety of L.A. city and county leaders praised the ruling and affirmed their commitment to getting the participation of various vulnerable communities in the Census.
“The rule of law once again won out [and] the power of justice once again prevailed,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, at the press conference.
Saenz, who graduated from Alhambra High School, before attending Yale, added that the challenges against the Census citizenship question continue. MALDEF and Asian Americans Advancing Justice were two of the organizations involved in a case that challenged the citizenship question in Maryland. Two days before the Supreme Court decision, a judge sent the case back to a lower court, after new evidence surfaced that the Trump administration wanted to include a citizenship question to discriminate against Latinos and non-citizens. The Supreme Court affirmed that ruling in their decision.
In a press release Thursday morning, An Le, 2020 Census Statewide Network Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-LA, said:
“We applaud today’s recognition that the Census Bureau was untruthful in its rationale for adding the untested and unnecessary question. Today’s decision affirms that we all matter. Our communities cannot be erased — we are here to be counted.”
An accurate Census count is important because it determines how federal funding is distributed for schools, transportation, nutritional programs, and other services, as well as how many representatives each state has in Congress. An undercount could cost California at least one seat in the U.S House of Representatives.
Los Angeles County is considered one of the hardest-to-count counties in the nation. It’s home to a number of populations that might choose not to participate in the Census due to anxiety over giving personal information to the federal government.
These populations include Asian and Latino immigrant populations in the San Gabriel Valley. The city of Alhambra has large numbers of both these groups.
“We’re hoping folks feel more free to interact with the Census,” said Chapman Clark, a pastor affiliated with the faith-based community organization LA Voice, which is coordinating with city leaders and other community organizations in the San Gabriel Valley to reach out to vulnerable populations for the Census.
“We need to engage our community with a complete count campaign,” Alhambra Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler said after attending the press conference. She added that the city and the school district is working together to ensure an accurate count, and that they would attempt to work with neighboring cities as well, since the Alhambra Unified School District includes students from Monterey Park, San Gabriel and Rosemead.