New Mexico | Jun 27, 2019 –
In a major win for advocates of a fair and complete census count, the U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked an effort by the Department of Commerce to include a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 Census. With the clock ticking on the government’s stated deadline to produce census forms, it appears unlikely that adequate justification or time exists to add a citizenship question.
Today’s decision sets in motion steps to remove a major hurdle in achieving an accurate count of people living in the United States, including here in New Mexico but much work remains to be done.
“Our goal is simple – ensure an accurate and fair count of all people living in New Mexico,” said Nelsy Dominguez, Program Director of the Con Alma Health Foundation and NM Counts 2020 Executive Committee Member. “Adding a question on citizenship would depress participation in the census and would have a significant impact on states like ours. This was the right decision for our country and the right decision for New Mexico.”
Over the past year, a broad representation of New Mexico-based foundations have joined together as New Mexico Counts 2020 to support efforts to ensure every resident is counted. These organizations recognize that, with billions of dollars on the line for critical federal programs for education, healthcare, economic development, and housing, New Mexico cannot afford to fail.
As part of this focus, several members of New Mexico Counts 2020 signed-on to an amicus brief in support of barring the citizenship question from the final census form.
“Not adding the citizenship question protects the integrity of the census,” said Allan Oliver, Executive Director of Thornburg Foundation. “Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms that the census must be a tool to count everyone. Now it is time for all-hands-on-deck to ensure everyone in New Mexico is counted.”
New Mexico’s unique demographics and geography make it one of the most difficult states to count and anything that impedes an accurate and fair count has a disproportional impact in our state. In 2000, the net undercount for New Mexico was nearly 2% or over 35,000 people; and in 2010, New Mexico had the second lowest response rate in the US. With over $7.8 billion allocated to New Mexico through federal spending programs guided by the Census, the stakes are too high not to have an accurate and fair count in 2020.
New Mexico Counts 2020 is an outreach campaign supported by philanthropic organizations to help ensure that all New Mexicans are counted in the 2020 Census, especially in the most hard-to-count and reach communities.