Representative Adriano Espaillat released the following statement in response to today’s decision from U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of NY to block the citizenship question proposed by the Trump administration for the 2020 Census.
“The Constitutionally-mandated Decennial Census is one of the most consequential responsibilities of our federal government, and I commend U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman on today’s order to block the harmful 2020 Census citizenship question proposed by the Trump administration,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Today’s decision is a step in the right direction so that the Census remains the backbone of a fair and fully representative government by ensuring that our voices, all voices are counted, and will continue to help determine how funding and resources are allocated to Congressional districts around the nation.
“In his decision, Judge Furman highlights what we in Congress have known about the citizenship question all along:
[The evidence] shows that Secretary Ross had decided to add the question for reasons entirely unrelated to VRA [the Voting Rights Act] enforcement well before he persuaded DOJ [Department of Justice] to make its request. And it certainly shows that he was either ‘unwilling or unable to rationally consider’ arguments against the question […] when he was allegedly engaged in the ‘comprehensive review’ that led to his final decision.
“I, along with many of my colleagues in Congress, had submitted letters of public comment to the Department of Commerce explaining our many concerns regarding the rationale for and detrimental effect of the proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census, including the decline in accuracy and response that would harm the representation and funding apportionment of New York and the entire country.
“It is clear that Secretary Ross never had any intent of heeding the advice of Congress or the American people, let alone his own Census Bureau staff who counseled him against the question. Today’s decision is a significant milestone in our collective efforts to ensure equality, inclusion, and opportunity for all.”
Rep. Espaillat has remained a vocal critic of the proposed citizenship question and outlined his concerns in a letter to the House Oversight Committee to urge that the inclusion of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census be rejected.
During the 115th Congress, Rep. Espaillat joined members of Congress as part of an amicus brief to urge the Census Bureau to reject the proposed question and respect its constitutional duty to count all persons living in the United States, citizen and noncitizen alike.