The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 Census. UniPro is proud to be among the 64 bar associations and AAPI-serving community organizations joining the brief.
About the Brief
The AAPI organizations urge the Court to uphold the district court’s ruling to enjoin the addition of the citizenship question: “Amici agree with the district court’s finding that the addition of a citizenship question will likely lead to an undercount of noncitizen households of at least 5.8 percent. . . . This chilling of participation in the 2020 Census will have a disproportionate effect on the AAPI community. . . . These heightened concerns for the AAPI community come at a crucial moment, because Asian Americans are the fastest-growing racial group in the country and stand to make substantial gains in political representation based on that population growth.”
The brief argues that the addition of the proposed citizenship question will have significant negative impacts on the AAPI community. First, the community would be harmed because it is comprised of large numbers of individuals are already hard to count and hesitant to participate. Second, the impact of an undercount would stymie the ability to protect voting rights of AAPIs. Third, the procedural anomalies in the administrative decision-making process do nothing to allay the community’s experience with historical misuse of census data—and further undermine the public’s trust in the Census Bureau.
On April 23, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966). In January, the Southern District of New York found that the Administration’s decision to add the question was “arbitrary” and “capricious,” and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. In a related challenge, California v. Ross, the Northern District of California found the Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution. A decision is pending in a third challenge, involving AAPI and Hispanic plaintiffs, in the District of Maryland.
The Census Bureau must finalize the census forms in June to be properly prepared to conduct the enumeration in 2020. A citizenship question was last included on the decennial census in 1950, prior to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and the removal of country bars dramatically limiting immigration from Asia and the Pacific Islands.