Washington, D.C.—Today, Ana Marie Argilagos, President and CEO of Hispanics in Philanthropy, issued the following statement as the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments challenging Commerce Secretary Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census:
“Since 1790, the mission of the U.S. Census has been to ensure every person is counted to provide fair and equal representation and allocation of resources.
“Today’s historic oral arguments before the Supreme Court challenging the addition of the citizenship question into the 2020 Census will have a direct and negative impact on lives of the some 58.9 million Latinos living in the U.S. and its territories.
“The Census was never intended to be weaponized nor to instill fear in our country’s people. However, given the divisive political climate in the country and the anti-Latino, anti-immigrant rhetoric afoot, the question does precisely that: it instills fear in residents who are not citizens. It important for the Supreme Court to consider the chilling effect this this question will have on participation, and how it may impact all communities. We urge the Supreme Court to consider the chilling effect as they did in the Plyler v. Doe decision of 1982 which essentially determined that asking families to potentially reveal their immigration status as part of the school registration process was illegal.
“Conducting a fair and accurate Census is absolutely critical, as the data collected every 10 years determines how the $800 billion in federal funding will be distributed, including where schools, roads, and hospitals are built, and how congressional representation is determined. Eliminating the chilling effect created by this question is essential in achieving a more accurate census.
“HIP is committed to working with national partners to ensure we use our platform as a philanthropic leader to eliminate intimidation based on race, ethnicity, or immigration status, and that we end the demonization of Latinos, immigrants, and other diverse communities.”