Press Club

Legal Review: Should the Census Include a Citizenship Question? The Supreme Court Will Decide

By Immigration Attorney Mario A. Godoy of Godoy Law Office

The U.S. Census is an important document filled out by every person in America.

The census results not only tell lawmakers how many people are in the country, but it also determines the number of seats held in the House of Representatives by each state.

The census is taken once every decade and as the time approaches for the next one, President Donald Trump has made one significant change that some say is simply continuing his war on immigration.

The Trump administration now wishes to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. If this is allowed, along with filling out information such as a name and income levels, a person will also have to state if they are a citizen or a legal or illegal immigrant. Last month, a New York federal judge, Judge Jesse Furman, struck down the ruling, saying it would negatively affect too many states.

Now, it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide if they want the question included.

“This will do nothing but keep non-citizens from taking part in the upcoming census,” says Mario A. Godoy of Godoy Law Office. “That not only means the census results in 2020 are going to be inaccurate, it also means several states will lose seats in the House, along with losing federal funding.”

The state that has the most to lose in terms of seats within the House is California, which would be a major blow to Democrats. When making his ruling on the issue, Judge Furman also states that eight other states, along with D.C., would feel the negative impact. These include Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington.

If the citizenship question is allowed on the census, it will be the first time since 1950 that the document asks for this information. However, after Justice Brett Kavanuagh was confirmed to sit on the Supreme Court in the fall of 2018, conservatives currently hold the majority on the bench. That majority likely means that the Supreme Court will overturn Judge Furman’s decision.

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