QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to a federal judge’s Jan. 15 ruling blocking the federal government from including a citizenship question on the 2020 Census form:
“The legal battle is likely far from over, and Queens will continue to speak out against the proposed Census citizenship question for as long as there is active litigation. But today’s court ruling is a tremendous victory in the fight against a reckless policy targeting our thriving immigrant communities in Queens and across the country,” said Borough President KATZ. “Including a citizenship question would undermine the goal of the Census: a complete count of all persons living in the United States. Here in Queens, a borough of nearly 2.4 million people of all races, ethnicities and faiths, an undercount would lead to fewer federal dollars for countless vital programs and initiatives.
“Judge Jesse Furman’s ruling is consistent with the borough’s belief that everyone living in Queens deserves to be accurately and fairly counted,” Borough President KATZ continued. “We are hopeful that any potential court decision in the future will cement this belief.”
In January 2018, Borough President Katz began her exhaustive effort to avoid an undercount by announcing her plan to convene a Queens Complete Count Committee — a group of trusted community leaders and activists tasked with learning about key 2020 Census issues and strategizing how to ensure everyone in Queens is counted accurately.
In August 2018, Borough President Katz submitted the following comment in the Federal Register blasting the proposed citizenship question, saying it could lead to potentially damaging consequences in Queens:
“As President of the Borough of Queens, New York, I am submitting this comment to express my strong opposition to the inclusion of a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. Queens is one of the most diverse regions in the United States, where 2.4 million people coexist regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or legal status,” Borough President Katz wrote. “It is more important than ever for an area like Queens to be as fully counted as possible. Including a citizenship question would undermine the primary goal of the Census: a complete and accurate count of all persons living in the United States.”
Borough President Katz hosted a comprehensive Census Town Hall in November 2018 — featuring presentations from Deputy Mayor J. Phil Thompson, Department of City Planning Population Division Director Dr. Joseph Salvo, Census Bureau New York Regional Director Jeff T. Behler and others — to keep the public informed as the 2020 Census nears.
The decennial Census determines the borough’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as how much federal funding Queens receives for schools, infrastructure, health services and more.