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Trump Administration Escalates Attack on Communities of Color by Adding Citizenship Question to Census

Change will lead to fear, weaker political voice and representation among communities of color

Washington – Yesterday, the Trump administration announced it will add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, a move which will predictably result in undercounting communities of color. Advancement Project’s national office, a racial justice organization, issued the following statement:

“Adding the citizenship question is meant to intimidate people in immigrant households,” said Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director of Advancement Project’s national office. “It will result in an undercount that will weaken political clout and access to necessary resources in communities of color. This tactic – pushed by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ Department of Justice, and which the Trump campaign touted to its right-wing anti-immigrant base, is not isolated. It is an extension of the Trump administration’s well-documented campaign to diminish the voices of people of color in our civic discourse. From the Census, to our elections, to activities protected by the First Amendment, our government should encourage more participation, not instill barriers to participating. Instead, this administration seems bent on returning our country to earlier times, when our system favored older, whiter populations even more disproportionately. These tactics are disconcerting and do not reflect what our country looks like.”

Since January 2017, immigrant communities have seen increased enforcement such that people are often afraid to go about their daily lives for fear of being swept up in the deportation machine. Against this backdrop, the administration’s addition of a citizenship question in the Census raises suspicion – it can only be meant to have a chilling effect in communities of color. The Census is one of the country’s most important tools to ensuring full political representation. Our entire democracy is compromised if certain communities are undercounted or intimidated from participating.

“Since inauguration, the Trump administration has appeared bent on implementing White-Supremacists’ wish lists regarding communities of color,” said Losmin Jiménez, Project Director and Senior Attorney for the Immigrant Justice Project at Advancement Project’s national office. “With several iterations of Muslim and Refugee Bans, separating parents and children at the border, rescinding DACA, referring to activists from the Movement for Black Lives as ‘Black Identity Extremists,’ calling Neo-Nazis ‘very fine people,’ creating the sham Pence-Kobach Voting Commission, threatening cities and states to enforce federal immigration laws, and beyond, the administration has created a climate of fear and erosion of civil liberties for communities of color that we simply cannot let stand.”

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Advancement Project is a multi-racial civil rights organization. Founded by a team of veteran civil rights lawyers in 1999, Advancement Project was created to develop and inspire community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras.

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