ACLU-NJ: Census Question on Citizenship Undermines Democracy

March 27, 2018

The ACLU-NJ strongly condemned the inclusion of a question about citizenship that the Trump administration has confirmed will be included in the 2020 census survey. 

The following statement can be attributed to ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha:

Amol Sinha

“The census is more than a questionnaire – it’s a constitutional mandate, and its results affect every aspect of our lives, from school construction to the power of a person’s vote. Using it to divide citizens from non-citizens insults democratic ideals, immigrant Americans, and beautifully diverse states like New Jersey.

“Asking about immigration in the census is an intimidation tactic with no purpose besides chilling immigrants’ participation and further vilifying immigrant communities. The collection of this information without knowing how it could be used is an especially terrifying prospect in the context of this presidential administration – an administration that openly denigrates immigrants, from undocumented parents to green card holders, and that has ramped up deportations and detentions, especially here in New Jersey.

“We’re proud of the unwavering moral courage demonstrated by New Jersey’s leaders on multiple fronts already. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Murphy administration are standing up to defend democracy with a lawsuit from several states, part of a united front led by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Senator Cory Booker and Senator Robert Menendez, alongside Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, have led the charge federally with a bill barring this question from the Census. We call on all states, all officials, and all people to fight this affront on our democracy, our values, and our neighborhoods.

“Information gathered from the census has been abused before, and it can be abused again. Census data directly facilitated the roundups and internment of Japanese-Americans, one of the most shameful periods in American civil rights. Tacking this question onto the census would go down among those ranks of low moments in our history.”

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