QUEENS, NY – Borough President Melinda Katz stated the following in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily block the federal government from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
“Queens maintains the citizenship question is discriminatory, especially as it was designed to weaponize the Census in order to dilute resources, representation and minority voting power,” said Borough President KATZ. “While the fight to ensure a fair count is far from over, the Supreme Court’s decision today to temporarily block this question is incredibly encouraging. There is still much work to be done to ensure that every Queens resident is counted accurately in the 2020 Census, because an undercount is something Queens simply cannot afford.”
The county of Queens, with its 2.35 million residents, is known as the most diverse county in the nation.
In January 2018, Borough President Katz first announced plans for the formation of her Queens Complete Count Committee, a group of more than 75 community leaders from across the borough tasked with strategizing how to ensure everyone in Queens is counted accurately and fairly in next year’s decennial count.
As part of her determined efforts to prevent a potential undercount in next year’s decennial count, Borough President Katz first hosted a Census Town Hall at Borough Hall in November 2018 to propel public discourse and engagement for the 2020 Census.
In April 2019, Borough President Katz signed an amicus brief set to the United States Supreme Court, along with nearly 200 other elected officials from around the country, opposing the inclusion of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
On May 1, hundreds of New Yorkers participated in a Queens Job Fair for the 2020 Census at Borough Hall, co-hosted by Borough President Katz, her Queens Complete Count Committee and the U.S. Census Bureau, which is looking to hire for positions such as Census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and more. The event was the single largest U.S. Census Bureau job fair in the New York City area so far this season.
That same evening, community-based organizations, civic leaders and residents testified before the New York State Complete Count Commission at its joint Queens County public hearing with Borough President Katz, the seventh and largest hearing in terms of the number of speakers held statewide by the NYSCCC this year. With Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio allocating $20 million and $22 million, respectively, to support Census outreach, those who testified called on for those resources to be distributed among trusted community-based organizations involved in outreach efforts to make the 2020 Census in Queens as accurate as possible.
The 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.
Follow Borough President Katz at @QueensBPKatz on Twitter or Facebook