Civil Rights and Census Advocates Highlight Need to Keep the Citizenship Question Off the 2020 Census

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference Education Fund, with Ethnic Media Services, hosted a telephone press briefing yesterday featuring the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC, and the National Urban League to discuss the importance of the 2020 Census to communities of color and efforts to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. [Follow-up article by Gregg W. Morris in the works.]

Civil rights leaders and census experts from diverse communities discussed what the decision out of New York means for pending litigation and why it’s important for Congress to ensure the count is fair and accurate.

“Getting the 2020 Census right is important for all people, particularly the hardest to count communities,” said Beth Lynk, census counts campaign director at The Leadership Conference Education Fund. “If there is an undercount, vital public services, schools, hospitals, and highways are not properly funded, and already vulnerable communities will suffer. We call on Congress to remove the citizenship question to ensure a fair and accurate count so that no one is left behind.”

“The 2020 Census is our only chance in a decade for a fair and accurate count of our communities. Census data are used in countless ways to ensure that our families and communities have the resources and services that they need. One in four Asians in the United States are new Americans and have never participated in the Census, and a citizenship question endangers an accurate count. We must protect the voices of all our immigrant communities because this is an America where everyone counts,” said John C. Yang, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC.

“Given the importance of Census 2020 in distributing billions of dollars in federal funding and the allocation of political power to communities across the country for the next 10 years, we cannot afford to have millions of Latinos and other Americans missed in the nation’s decennial count,” stated Angela Manso, director of policy and legislative affairs at the NALEO Educational Fund. “While the New York ruling marked an important legal victory, we know the citizenship question issue is far from settled in the courts. That is why we are calling on Congress to act and provide the U.S. Census Bureau with the clarity it needs to execute the 2020 Census by removing the citizenship question once and for all.”

“A citizenship question increases the likelihood of a substantial unde-rcount of the entire U.S. Black population, including immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and the African Diaspora,” said Jeri Green, 2020 Census senior advisor at the National Urban League. “We urge Congress to remove the question so the Administration can focus on critical 2020 Census operations instead of the continued pursuit of this misguided, discriminatory policy.”



The Leadership Conference Education Fund builds public will for federal policies that promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. The Education Fund’s campaigns empower and mobilize advocates around the country to push for progressive change in the United States. It was founded in 1969 as the education and research arm of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. For more information on The Education Fund, visit

Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC has a mission to advance the civil and human rights for Asian Americans and to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all.

NALEO Educational Fund is the leading non-profit, non-partisan organization that facilitates full Latino participation in the American political process, from citizenship to public service.

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.