New Executive Memorandum Limiting Census Counts Unconstitutional, Harmful for New Jersey
The Census 2020 NJ Coalition condemns the July 21st executive memorandum from President Trump that attempts to exclude undocumented persons from the Census Bureau’s legislative apportionment counts. “The memorandum is both unconstitutional and harmful to an accurate count of New Jersey’s residents,” said Peter Chen, Policy Counsel at Advocates for Children of New Jersey and coordinator of the Census 2020 NJ Coalition. “The Constitution is clear that the Census must count all persons in the United States as the basis for apportioning legislative representation, regardless of their immigration status.”
This desperate attempt to suppress the responses of immigrant households will harm the accuracy of the 2020 Census, which distributes more than $1.5 trillion in federal funds each year, including $45 billion each year to New Jersey alone. These dollars pay for public services that benefit us all, including schools, roads, hospitals, emergency services and health insurance.
This memorandum does not change any procedures for Census responses being collected right now and when in-person door-knocking begins. The Census Bureau has a duty to count every single person living in the United States, regardless of immigration status, race, ethnicity or religion. Similarly, every person has a right and duty to be counted for their families and communities.
The 2020 Census is still happening and the Coalition encourages all New Jerseyans to complete their forms online or over the phone. Tens of thousands of New Jersey households still need to respond in order to ensure an accurate count.
Only 64.2 percent of New Jersey households have responded to the Census so far, and even a small undercount would lead to devastating consequences for those communities and for our state.
New Jersey state, county and local governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses are working tirelessly to ensure an accurate Census count in 2020. The 2020 Census has already faced delays and low response rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the President’s memorandum only compounds those obstacles.
Civil rights advocates, including members of the Census 2020 NJ Coalition, successfully defeated the President’s attempt to put a citizenship question on the questionnaire. We will advocate eliminating this unlawful and unconstitutional memorandum as well.
In the Census every person counts, no matter who the President is. New Jersey must not let this unconstitutional action stand in the way of an accurate count of all New Jerseyans.