VILLAGE OF SKOKIE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT RULING ON IMMIGRATION STATUS QUESTION IN CENSUS TAKING
Today, June 27, 2019 the United States Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration’s plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census for the time being in a major setback for the administration. The Village of Skokie was part of this legal outcome and is proud of its active role in the arguments filed with the Court. The Village of Skokie was one of only six municipalities which reviewed, offered comments and then joined in an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Department of Commerce v. New York.
When it signed on to the amicus brief in April of this year, the Village of Skokie stated that it fervently opposed the addition of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census because it would unreasonably skew the accuracy of the census, which determines the allocation of more than $900 billion of critical federal funding. The Village of Skokie concluded that the proposed question could have such devastating impact on individuals in our community and further, could directly impact the representation and funding of the Village that it had to be heard in the Supreme Court case.
While the Village of Skokie was only one of six municipalities nationwide that join the pleading to the Supreme Court, there were 190 bipartisan state and local elected officials around the country who personally joined the amicus brief. The risk posed from inaccurate census data is the potential to divert hundreds of millions dollars away from vital programs that support public education, healthcare, the mitigation of crime and community development. The bitter controversy also centers around the House of Representatives, which is based on total population and would be artificially changed by undercounting minorities.
Chief Justice John Roberts concluded in the 5-4 majority decision that there was sufficient reason for concern about why the Commerce Department wanted to add the question. The Village of Skokie is proud to have been a lead municipality to aggressively confront the impact of a citizenship question on our decennial census. The Census Bureau’s own experts concluded that asking the citizenship question would cause 6.5 million people to avoid the survey, even among legal immigrants, especially in the current political climate. The Village of Skokie is proud to be part of today’s important ruling.