City Celebrates Ruling Banning Census Question from 2020 Census

When census forms go out next year, you'll be asked for your name and your age, but you will not be asked if you're a citizen, and that's a big deal for San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

A federal judge in New York, this week, blocked the Commerce Department from adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census, ruling that violates federal statute.

"Secretary (Wilbur) Ross's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census - even if it did not violate the Constitution itself - was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside.  To conclude otherwise and let Secretary Ross's decision stand would undermine the proposition - central to the rule of law - that ours is a 'government of laws, and not of men,'" U.S. District Court Judge Jess Furman wrote.

After the Trump Administration announced the citizenship question, there were concerns that it could lead to a significant reduction in response rates among Hispanic households. 

Rogelio Saenz, Dean of the College of Public Policy at UTSA, says it would have diminished San Antonio’s political clout, because census numbers are used for representation in congress.

"(The census numbers) are used to provide political representation as well as the distribution of federal funds," he says.

Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) cheered the ruling as well.

"A citizenship question would jeopardize federal funding & congressional seats for states like Texas, and would result in an undercount of immigrant and minority communities - an outcome that is at odds with the constitutional purpose of the census," he said.

While some believe the case will be reviewed by the Supreme Court, LULAC attorney Luis Vera says the reasons behind the denial make that unlikely in his opinion.

"The judge didn’t rule that this was unconstitutional.  The decision was made under the Administrative Procedure Act, which is very difficult to overturn because that's an act passed by congress. They would have to declare the whole act unconstitutional."


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