Respond today by clicking on the following link: https://www.2020census.gov/
The United States Constitution requires that the nation’s population be accurately counted every ten years via the census. The data collected from the census ensures equal access to important governmental and private resources for all Americans, including how federal funding is allocated to states and localities.
Census results also impact the number of seats each state has in Congress and your political representation at all levels of government. The data collected by the census affects how district lines are drawn for the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures, and local boards.
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing groups in the United States. For Asian American communities to be properly represented in government decision-making and to receive a proper allocation of funding, we must complete the census.
You can complete the census online by clicking on the link below. It is easy and only takes about 10 minutes to complete. Your submission will help direct billions of dollars in federal aid to local communities for various public services.
Lawyers are under a general ethical obligation to advise their clients and the public, in general, to comply with federal law and participate in Census 2020. Our partners at the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) commissioned legal research reviewing attorney ethical considerations and obligations regarding the Census under the Rules of Professional Conduct in the following thirteen jurisdictions: CA, DC, FL, GA, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA, TX, VA, and WA. The Memorandum of Law is here: http://bit.ly/2IJgQQl
The memo is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice covering a specific situation, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Contact an ethics lawyer for legal advice in your jurisdiction.
On June 27, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Southern District of New York ’s decision to block the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Census in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966) and remanded the case for further proceedings. The Court agreed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce’s rationale for adding a citizenship question to the census was pretextual stating, “the evidence tells a story that does not match the explanation the Secretary gave for his decision.”
Based on the totality of the evidence, the Court’s decision affirms the lower court’s finding of pretext on the part of the Secretary of Commerce. Agencies must “offer genuine justifications for important decisions.” The Commerce Department’s “sole stated” rationale for including the citizenship question—better Voting Rights Act (VRA) enforcement—is “incongruent with what the record reveals.” Overwhelming evidence about the timeline of the Secretary’s decision to add the citizenship question “reveal[s] a significant mismatch between the decision the Secretary made and the rationale he provided.” Accordingly, although the Court recognized the Secretary’s right to add a citizenship question under the Census Act and Constitution, the reasoning provided is not consistent with the review required by administrative law.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) both support the decision of the Court in blocking the Department of Commerce from adding their untested citizenship question. In addition to the evidence of intentional discrimination, NAPABA and AALDEF both hope the lower courts will engage in a careful and deliberate reconsideration of the full record, including the newly discovered evidence.
NAPABA President Daniel Sakaguchi said: “We are pleased that the Court ultimately rejected the Department of Commerce’s argument to include the citizenship question as pretextual and ‘contrived.’ Permitting the question to be added would have resulted in a significant undercount of immigrants and communities of color, leading to discriminatory cutbacks in resources and underrepresentation in Congress, in state houses, and in local government. The courts should continue to discredit the post-hoc reasoning of the Administration in its attempts to stop a fair and accurate count. It is incumbent on community leaders and attorneys to ensure that everyone is counted as part of 2020 Census.”
AALDEF Executive Director Margaret Fung said: “We are glad that the Supreme Court agreed with what AALDEF and NAPABA asserted in our joint amicus brief opposing the census citizenship question: that ‘the VRA enforcement rationale—the sole stated reason—seems to have been contrived.’ The government never intended to better enforce the VRA, as reflected in the fact that this administration has not brought any VRA enforcement actions. Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in this country and the largest segment of new immigrants. We will continue the fight to ensure that everyone in our country is properly counted in the 2020 Census and that our community receives its fair share of resources and representation.”
NAPABA and AALDEF led sixty-four Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations in filing an amicus brief outlining the negative impacts the addition of the citizenship question would have on the AAPI community, due to the resulting undercount.
NAPABA and AALDEF are grateful to lead pro bono counsel Albert Giang, 2018 Recipient of the NAPABA Pro Bono Award, NAPABA Amicus Committee Co-Chair, and Partner at Boies Schiller Flexner LLP (BSF) in Los Angeles; Miguel A. Gradilla and Ziwei Hu of BSF; NAPABA Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Radha Pathak of Stris & Maher LLP; Meredith Higashi of the NAPABA Civil Rights Committee; Jerry Vattamala and Patricia Yan of AALDEF; and Navdeep Singh and the NAPABA staff for their joint efforts in this case.
A copy of the decision can be found here.
On April 1, 2019, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), joined by Sixty-four (64) bar associations and AAPI-serving community organizations, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966) opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
In a press release, NAPABA stated:
On April 23, the Supreme Court will hear an appeal in Department of Commerce v. New York (18-966). In January, the Southern District of New York found that the Administration’s decision to add the question was ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious,’ and that it violated the Administrative Procedure Act. In a related challenge, California v. Ross, the Northern District of California found the Administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the Constitution. A decision is pending in a third challenge, involving AAPI and Hispanic plaintiffs, in the District of Maryland.
The AAPI organizations urge the Court to uphold the district court’s ruling to enjoin the addition of the citizenship question: Amici agree with the district court ’s finding that the addition of a citizenship question will likely lead to an undercount of
AABANY is pleased to announce that it is a co-signatory to NAPABA’s amicus brief in the Supreme Court opposing the addition of a proposed citizenship question to the 2020 census. The addition of the citizenship question will negatively impact the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It will depress response rates from Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial group and the largest segment of new immigrants in the country, and impact our ability to protect our rights and ensure political representation.
To read the full press release and the amicus brief, click here.