A record number of New York City residents participated in the U.S. Census Count, according to new figures tallied by the U.S. Census Bureau. But those numbers could be scaled back if the majority-right U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of President Donald Trump’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the count for purposes of Congressional apportionment. The court is now scheduled to review Trump’s plan next month.
The 61.9% response rate was a smidge better than the previous decennial census in 2010, when 61.8% of New York City residents mailed in their census forms. But with a pandemic foiling the city's boots-on-the-ground efforts for a complete count, Julie Menin, NYC Census 2020 director, characterized the latest tally as a big win.
In a tweet posted on Friday, Menin took a victory lap to celebrate the increased response rate, which comes with a promise of billions of dollars in funding for New York City schools, hospitals, and public transportation, over the next decade.
"While we were cut short 2 weeks by unconscionable political interference + while we wait to see NYC’s final # + if we feel data Trump finally reports is accurate or not, I couldn’t be prouder of result our team collectively achieved for NYC!" Menin wrote.
The city’s count -- which was supposed to have ended on October 31st, but reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court to end last week -- is being challenged by Trump’s proposal to exclude undocumented immigrant as outlined in a memorandum announced in July by the Trump administration. If Trump is successful, New York and several other immigrant-dense states stand to lose at least one seat in Congress, or to not gain expected new seats.
Under his plan, Wilbur Ross, Secretary to the U.S. Department of Commerce -- which oversees the U.S. Census Bureau -- is expected to present two separate lists showing the number of U.S. citizens counted and undocumented immigrants per state. The ACLU is part of the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Trump's proposal, along with several states, including New York.
"The memorandum implements a policy that breaks with more than two hundred years of history and violates the plain text and purpose of both the Census Act and the Constitution," wrote New York Attorney General Letitia James in a brief to the Supreme Court.
The plan could have devastating effects to New York City, considered a Sanctuary City that's home to an estimated 560,000 undocumented immigrants as of 2018.
But quantifying the number of undocumented New York City residents will be difficult since the census did not add a citizenship question that Trump requested, but was struck down by the Supreme Court last year.
The largely conservative court, down one justice after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, plans to hear whether Trump’s proposal is constitutional on November 30th. By then, the U.S. Senate will have decided on the fate of Trump’s nominee conservative federal judge Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Commerce said a request to be heard was fast-tracked since the agency needs to present its first reports on census tabulations to Trump by December 31st.
"And the fight continues," Menin later tweeted in response to an article about Trump's proposal.