WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump held a press conference Thursday to announce he has ended his political wrangling in court and will not seek further legal action to include the citizenship question on the 2020 Census form.
At the same time, Trump issued an executive order requiring directing the Commerce Department to obtain citizenship data through means other than the census, including documents from the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice, an affiliation of five civil rights organizations, responded with the following statement:
“The 2020 Census is finally free to pursue its true purpose – a fair and accurate count of all persons in the United States. We view this as a clear win for everyone — regardless of party or status — who believes in upholding the U.S. Constitution.
“This announcement today puts an end to one chapter after more than a year of lies and rhetoric from this administration, whose purpose was to stoke fear and reduce participation within our immigrant communities.
“However, in light of the president’s executive action, we know that the administration will continue to attack and tear immigrant families apart. Among other things, Asian Americans Advancing Justice is prepared to push back and fight against any new attacks on undocumented immigrants, of which 1.7 million are Asian Americans. Our communities will not be bullied or erased from the 2020 Census.”
“Defeating the citizenship question on the 2020 Census means that our communities can and will be visible in this census. Advancing Justice is committed to getting our community to participate and getting a fair and accurate count of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.”
On July 3, in response to the administration’s initial announcement that the census forms were being printed without the citizenship question due to an unfavorable ruling from the Supreme Court, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said:
“Despite the false answer [Commerce] Secretary [Wilbur] Ross gave me about the origin of this question, we know from court records that the citizenship question was put forward by a Republican strategist looking to help the Republican Party. In order to do so, they wanted to use the citizenship question as a way to frighten immigrants away from the census, hiding the true number of people in this country, and jeopardizing federal representation and funding for everything from housing to transportation to education.
“I’m so relieved the Supreme Court saw through this ‘contrived’ argument, as Chief Justice [John] Roberts put it, and stopped the question from being added. Our task now is to ensure every family is able to fill out a census and that every person is counted. I plan on continuing to work with communities in my district and across the country to make this the most successful census ever.”