Maryland Court Asks Commerce Department to “Go On the Record” To Confirm No Further Pursuit of Citizenship Question

Thomas A. Saenz,
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WASHINGTON, D.C.–After the Department of Commerce stated that it will print the form without the citizenship question, U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel in Maryland asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to confirm that it has given up its fight entirely to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Commerce Department has until Monday, July 8th, to respond.

In his request for a joint stipulation between the plaintiffs of LUPE et al. v. Ross et al., Judge Hazel is seeking a written commitment to conduct Census 2020 without a citizenship question.  Such a commitment would be a clear win for Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) who brought the lawsuit to challenge the addition of the citizenship question on the basis of racial animus and violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, among other claims.

The following statements were issued by the civil rights partners in the Lupe v. Ross lawsuit.

John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, states:


“Finally. The question is off the 2020 Census. But the pattern of lies and deceit from this administration requires confirmation on the record that the fight is over. We need this final nail in the coffin of the citizenship question.”


“We’ve always fought for and will continue to work toward a fair and accurate 2020 Census where we count every person in America.”


Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel, states:

“This afternoon, at a telephonic hearing in our challenge to the late-proposed citizenship question for Census 2020, the federal government indicated that it would be moving forward with Census 2020 without the citizenship question. “This represents an important victory for the Constitution and the nation.  The removal of the question increases the opportunity to ensure that the Census count is as complete as possible, so that our legislative bodies and our distribution of federal funding over the next decade reflects accurately the nation’s total population.


“This victory comes just as MALDEF was prepared to prove, using newly-discovered as well as long-public evidence, that the motivation for adding the citizenship question was to discriminate intentionally against the growing Latino community.  Firmly convinced that the lies from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other Trump administration officials would be exposed in court and lead to a permanent removal of the citizenship query from Census 2020 as a violation of basic equal protection principles of the Constitution, MALDEF will now act to ensure that today’s decision by the federal government is thorough and complete before voluntarily abandoning our racial intent case.


“Consistent with this goal, we will be working to reach an agreement with the federal government about its final decision to conduct Census 2020 without a citizenship question.  The district court has ordered the parties to return on Monday, July 8 with agreement on a written stipulation with regard to the conduct of Census 2020.  We look forward to reaching agreement by July 8.”


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