Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Trump Anti-Immigrant Census Order Challenged by CASA and Others

Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Trump Anti-Immigrant Census Order Challenged by CASA and Others

For Immediate Release:
November 30, 2020

CASA and other immigration advocates optimistic after oral arguments at the Supreme Court in New York Immigration Coalition v. Trump 

Washington, D.C. — After hearing oral arguments in New York Immigration Coalition v. Trump, immigration advocates are optimistic that the Supreme Court will uphold decisions by several lower courts to block President Trump’s attempt to break with 230 years of history, as well as the clear language of the Constitution, and prohibit his Administration from excluding undocumented immigrants from being included in the Census count for purposes of apportionment.  

The case, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, New York Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Texas, ACLU of Southern California, and Arnold & Porter on behalf of immigrant rights groups, seeks to ensure that all persons living in the United States receive the representation the Constitution demands. The Administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the Census count for the purpose of apportionment of Congressional representation would not only potentially deprive millions of people of representation in Congress, but also shift the balance of the Electoral College in a way that discriminates against immigrants and the communities they live in, and particularly immigrant communities of color. 

Lower courts who have considered this issue have concluded that federal law and the Constitution require the census to count every single person living in the United States and thus rejected Trump’s anti-immigrant attacks on the Census count, including in July when a federal court blocked the Administration from enforcing the policy

Immigrant advocacy groups have embarked on impactful Census campaigns to promote and ensure Census completion in immigrant communities to assure that Trump will not violate the law and demonize immigrants.  

Maria del Carmen Gutierrez, CASA Field Director said, “Trump’s memo attempting to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count is simply unconstitutional. Immigrants are a critical part of our communities all across this country. They are driving economic growth and caring for our basic needs as essential workers in our food supply and health care industries and deserve to be counted and represented.”

CASA’s commitment to a complete count was reflected in a $1.3 million dollar, year-long campaign that blended door to door canvass, phone and text outreach, substantial digital outreach, and relational organizing. Across our Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania turf, CASA contacted over 620,000 through direct outreach, reached nearly 5.5 million through digital outreach, and directly contributed to more than 70,000 people completing the census, and indirectly to tens of thousands more, hosting over 3,000 at census house parties and recruiting over 1,000 community leader volunteers to our relational organizing program. Self-reporting rates in 88% of the geographies CASA worked across our three states surpassed or significantly increased their 2010 self-reporting rates.

Theo Oshiro, Deputy Director of Make the Road New York said, “the Census provides critical information our communities rely on for fair political representation and the allocation of resources that our people need. While the Trump administration has continuously threatened this Census and our democracy, the constitution mandates a full count of every person in this country. We remain committed to ensuring all people are counted and our communities receive the representation and resources that we deserve.”

The 2020 Census was a critical project for the Make the Road New York (MRNY) family because we know how urgent this count is for our communities. In 2010, we conducted a tremendous mobilization to ensure our communities were counted. In 2020, we redoubled our efforts and surpassed all of our expectations. The MRNY 2020 Census team confronted different challenges, including a pandemic and many roadblocks erected by the Trump administration. Nonetheless, we overcame those hurdles and helped ensure more than 10,000 of our community members were counted in the 2020 Census, which we expect will pay dividends in terms of community resources and representation. In addition, our Census team via text messages, phone calls, and through various digital efforts reached more than 300,000 people.

Murad Awawdeh and Rovika Rajkishun, interim Co-Executive Directors of the New York Immigration Coalition said, “Immigrants are persons—no matter what Trump or his cronies say. After suffering repeated defeats in lower federal courts, the Trump administration has brought its most brazen attempt to erase immigrant communities’ personhood to the highest court in the land. Unfortunately for Trump, the Constitution offers little room for argument—everyone counts in the Census, which means all of us. We will not be denied our humanity and will continue to fight this White House’s repeated efforts to suppress the 2020 Census count and rob immigrant-rich states like ours of our fair share of federal funding and representation. Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court to affirm our personhood, uphold the Constitution, and reject this last-minute attempt to corrupt the 2020 Census and undermine our democracy.”

Despite Trump’s best efforts to suppress the census count and rob New York and other immigrant-rich states of our fair share of federal funding and representation, the NYIC mobilized communities to ensure that immigrants participated in the 2020 Census in the face of a global pandemic and for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

Beth Lynk, Senior Director of the Census Counts Campaign at the Leadership Conference Education Fund said, “we’re here today after our communities pulled together and organized—everyone from businesses to social service providers to artists doing everything they can to get out the count. The Supreme Court must honor that work and protect the census from the Trump administration’s political manipulations, and Congress must ensure that the Census Bureau has time to count everyone by extending the statutory deadlines for apportionment and redistricting to give necessary time for processing, tabulation and quality checks. Undocumented immigrants live, work, and go to school in every state, and an inaccurate census that leaves them out would hurt every community.”

The Census Counts campaign, housed at The Leadership Conference Education Fund, brings together community-based organizations across a wide spectrum of advocacy: civil rights, immigrant, LGBTQ, disability, infant and child, poverty and homelessness, faith-based, labor, health care, education, youth, and more. Through education, training, organizing, and outreach, these organizers and advocates are working to ensure communities the census has historically missed are counted in the 2020 Census.

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