San Francisco–  The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today to block the citizenship question from the 2020 Census survey.  

CAA applauds the ruling as a victory for democracy and the civil rights of immigrants and Asian Americans who would have been dissuaded from participating in the Census.

Given the Supreme Court decision, CAA and other nonpartisan organizations and civil rights groups are now calling for a full-scale of mobilization of the community to participate in the Census to protect our voting rights and our access to federal, state, and local funding.

“CAA will work closely with the City of San Francisco to ensure that all hard-to-count communities are receiving accurate and reliable information about the Census to dispel fear and motivate participation,” says Hong Mei Pang, Director of Advocacy at CAA. Pang continues, “We will ensure that our communities are receiving their fair share of resources and political representation, strengthen the safeguards available for immigrants, subvert panic and restore power to marginalized communities through a successful Census in 2020.”

The decennial Census is constitutionally mandated and determines Congressional representation, as well as political representation throughout California. A complete count is critical to determine federal funding for a host of public education, health, economic development, and other services for historically marginalized communities. 

According to the American Community Survey, about 27% of California’s population is foreign-born and susceptible to being undercounted in Census 2020 if the citizenship question was included. Immigrants and limited-English proficient communities will likely bear the brunt of Census 2020 challenges including distrust in government, digital divide, and lack of language access. In urban areas like San Francisco, an undercount could result in a projected loss of $4.4 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years.

The Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) is San Francisco’s implementation agency for Census 2020. Adrienne Pon, Executive Director at OCEIA expressed, “We applaud today’s SCOTUS ruling that, for the time being, blocks the inclusion of a citizenship question from the 2020 Census and calls out the administration’s questionable motives.  The hard work is still ahead to ensure that ALL America’s people and communities are included and fairly represented. The Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs, San Francisco Complete Count Committee, and the Immigrant Rights Commission pledge to work with our community leaders and partners to ensure an accurate, complete, and inclusive count of ALL San Francisco residents. We will not be intimidated and must protect our democracy and right to participate.” 

CAA has worked on the decennial Census since the 1970s to remove access barriers and to motivate participation within HTC communities. Leveraging cross-sector partnerships and grassroots efforts to motivate Census participation, CAA hopes to replicate San Francisco’s success from 2010 Census to achieve a full and complete count.

Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) is a community-based civil rights organization in San Francisco.  Our mission is to protect the civil and political rights of Chinese Americans and to advance multiracial democracy in the United States. We advocate for systemic change that protects immigrant rights, promotes language diversity, and remedies racial injustice.