(TRENTON) – An Assembly concurrent resolution sponsored by Assembly Democrats Louis D. Greenwald, Yvonne Lopez and Jamel Holley to oppose the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 census and urge the New Jersey Congressional Delegation to reject any measure directing the Census Bureau to include the question was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.
“I am appalled by the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census,” said Greenwald (D-Camden, Burlington). “This anti-immigrant policy will have a detrimental effect on the accuracy of the decennial census count, and inspire fear within immigrant communities. We see how this fear affects communities across the nation already, when in the 2010 census nearly 1.5 million people of color were not counted.”
“The policies of the Trump administration have sparked fear in immigrant communities. Adding this question to the census would only make matters worse,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “We have seen cases where individuals have been apprehended during ICE check-ins. One woman was detained at a courthouse while seeking a restraining order. The fear is real and valid. This proposal would push individuals further underground, and deny states funding to properly serve its residents.”
“The Census helps determine congressional representation and the allocation of funding. There is concern that immigrant families will not fill out the Census forms out of self-preservation, which will lead to an inaccurate count, which will jeopardize funding needed by states to provide for their residents,” said Holley (D-Union). “Given the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration, this concern is justified. There is too much on the line to allow this question on the Census.”
The measure (ACR-121) states the United States Department of Justice has asked the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship status in the 2020 decennial census form. According to experts, including four former Census Bureau directors, a citizenship question in the decennial census would have a detrimental effect on the accuracy of the decennial census count, as privacy concerns and fear of deportation would prevent many households from completing their census form.
“Given the current administrations deportation, immigration, and naturalization policies, a citizenship question in the decennial census survey would prevent a full count of the population as required by the Constitution,” added Greenwald. “A citizenship question would be counterproductive and would yield inaccurate data for the next decade.”
The resolution states that an undercount of the total population in municipalities, counties, states, and the nation will affect the equitable allocation of nearly $700 billion per year in federal funds, the number of electoral votes in each state, the reapportionment of legislative districts, and the apportionment of seats in the United States House of Representatives.
The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that members of the House of Representatives “shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state.”
The resolution was approved 49-22 by the Assembly, and 26-13 in the Senate on Feb. 26.