Photo Courtesy of AG James’s Office
“We hope that this action will at long last allow us to put this national nightmare behind us, and give us the opportunity to fully focus on education and outreach so that we can ensure that all people are counted,” NY Attorney General James said.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Empire State elected officials have declared victory after President Donald Trump decided to abandon efforts to include a question inquiring about citizenship status on the 2020 Census.
“The President saw the writing on the wall. Despite digging in, he knew that he was facing an uphill battle, and ultimately retreated from his ill-sought crusade to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing). “While we’re extremely pleased over this victory, we must not forget the chaos, contradictions, misinformation—and of course the lies—that came out of the administration during this fight. President Trump sought to weaponize and politicize the census. Administration officials such as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who lied straight to my face about the question’s origins, must still be held accountable for not telling the truth to Congress. We must also watch closely over how the President and the Commerce Department will continue to seek to acquire citizenship information through other means. We will not tolerate the intimidation of immigrant communities.”
The U.S. Supreme Court recently determined that the explanation that Ross had provided for including such a question on the census was insufficient to support the agency’s decision.
“I disagree with the Court’s ruling, because I believe that the department’s decision was fully supported by the rationale presented on the record before the Supreme Court,” Trump wrote in an executive order issued Thursday. “The Court’s ruling, however, has now made it impossible, as a practical matter, to include a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census questionnaire. After examining every possible alternative, the attorney general and the secretary of Commerce have informed me that the logistics and timing for carrying out the census, combined with delays from continuing litigation, leave no practical mechanism for including the question on the 2020 decennial census.”
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to clarify the record.
“[Trump] did not decide to withdraw. When a boxer is in the ring and gets knocked down and knocked out and does not respond to the bell and cannot get to their feet at the count of ten we don’t say he withdrew from the fight. Right?” Cuomo said. “We say he lost the fight. The President did not decide to withdraw. The President lost his politically motivated quest to pursue his anti-immigration stance in the census and it’s good news for New Yorkers.
Still, the President won’t let it go.
“Nevertheless, we shall ensure that accurate citizenship data is compiled in connection with the census by other means,” Trump wrote Thursday. “To achieve that goal, I have determined that it is imperative that all executive departments and agencies provide the [Commerce] Department the maximum assistance permissible, consistent with law, in determining the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country, including by providing any access that the department may request to administrative records that may be useful in accomplishing that objective.”
State Attorney General Tish James remained focused on the future.
“We hope that this action will at long last allow us to put this national nightmare behind us, and give us the opportunity to fully focus on education and outreach so that we can ensure that all people are counted,” James said.